As Subah Infosolution-GRA Deal Rakes More Revenue Into State Coffers
Subah Infosolution Company Limited, has vehemently denied the allegation leveled against it that it has engaged in a systematic fraud, against the State and argues that it has valid contract with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Officials of the company suggested albeit subtly that a cabal in the telecom industry has ganged up to deny the State revenues collected from consumers as Talk Tax, by kicking out Subah Infosolution, through an orchestrated smear media campaign.
“We have valid and authenticated contract with GRA”, the company told a group of journalists it invited to it premises last Saturday.
Their operations with GRA has rather leapfrogged Government revenue from GH¢19 Million to a record GH¢40 Million, every month.
The relatively unknown company, owned by Joseph Siaw Agyapong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zoomlion Group of Companies, has received condemnation from members of the public after news broke that it is conniving with some criminally-minded officials of GRA to steal proceeds of the Communication Service Tax to the tune of GH¢144 million.
But officials of the Subah Infosolution Company Limited, insist the reports by the various media outlets are one-sided, false and deliberate attempt by some interested parties; to deny the State huge revenues coming into it coffers, by the activities of the company.
They revealed that the man behind the story, Samuel Agyeman of Accra-based Metro TV, and onetime “Journalist Of The Year” did not contact the company for it side of the story, before making public his so-called investigative piece, adding the report is not factual.
Meanwhile, the investigative piece is already in full circulation on the internet and on various media platforms, including newspapers.
The story which has infuriated some Ghanaians, has pushed the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International (TI) to call on Government to make an official statement on the GH¢144 million scandal, involving Subah Infosolution Company Limited and GRA, if it claims to be interested in fighting corruption.
Both government and officials of GRA are yet to make public pronouncement on the matter, but the Managing Director (MD) of Subah Infosolution, an Indian by name Biren Sasmal, at a short media interaction, last Saturday, denied the company was benefiting from illegal funds.
He said, even though he was an Indian, Subah Infosolution, is a wholly own Ghanaian company, which started operation on May 5, 2010, after it was engaged by GRA to monitor and vet the Communication Service Tax (CST) returns filed by telephone companies namely; MTN, Vodafone, Tigo, Artel, Glo and Expresso under the CST Act 754 of 2008.
Interestingly, all the six telecommunication companies are owned by foreigners, who repatriate their profits out of Ghana, sometimes daily.
He explained that their core mandate is to provide Revenue Assurance Monitoring System (RAGB) for the monitoring of CST on all local calls for mobile and fixed telephony, to ensure that various companies were paying the correct amount of money they collect from their customers using their networks.
According to Mr. Biren, as a result of their effective monitoring, the average monthly revenue, since they started operations has moved from GH¢19 million to a record GH¢40 million.
This he indicated meant that before they started their operations, the various telecommunications companies, had over the years under declared their data, hence the meager amount the GRA was getting.
Subah Infosolution explained that it gets it raw data on the five telephones companies, through a company called Global Voice Group (GVG), an international company engaged by the National Communication Authority (NCA), to monitor telephone communications to and from abroad to determine the correct amount of Tax due the state.
He explained that while Subah Infosolution, does internal call monitoring for GRA, GVG , which is a foreign company is monitoring all the international calls for the NCA.
On the claim of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, through its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kweku Sakyi Addo, that they did not know the existence of Subah Infosolution, Mr. Biren said, he was not surprised, because they were contracted by the GRA and so they are answerable to the GRA, which pays then monthly after performing their task.
What to him is interesting is that, whiles the Chamber denies their existence, the telephone companies since 2010, when his company signed the agreement with the GRA, have paid the amounts the GRA submit to them from Subah Infosolution, without asking questions or challenging the claim.
Under the contract, Subah Infosolution is also required to report to Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB), total revenue generated during a certain period (monthly together with related quarterly and annual summaries), details of all calls of a particular number, differential report between tax deposits and true tax.
Others are the list of subscribers, total minutes in a defined period, list of IMEI numbers, total number of subscribers, total number of subscribers per operator and any other reports agreed between the RAGB and Subah.
The company debunked report that they did not have the technical know-how and the capacity to execute their mandate saying, “We have enough capacity”. Apart from the many infrastructures it has put in place, Mr. Biren noted that they directly and indirectly have a staff strength of 65.
He flatly denied ever meeting and granting any interview on the matter to Samuel Agyeman, who made the video, saying the video of him was taken at a product marketing event, but not on the issue of the so-called fraud.
Whiles, he insisted they were not bothered that Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications was unaware of their existence; he stated that the NCA was very much aware of their operation, as they give them information and collaborate with them through GVG, which has since ceded aspect of its operations to the Subah Infosolution.
He mentioned one of the works they have done together with the NCA, as the detection of SIM fraud. It is on record that VODAFONE Ghana is in court with the NCA over the installation of international call monitoring systems on the premises of the telecom operator, to verify the volume of international traffic for revenue.
At a separate interaction with Zoomlion boss, Joseph Siaw Agyapong he confirmed to The Herald that he owns the Subah Infosolution, but denied engaging in anything fraudulent to dupe the people of Ghana.
He disclosed how he had to take a huge loan from Stanbic Bank to acquire machines and expensive computer softwares to set up the company.
Lawyer for Zoomlion Group of Companies, Lawyer Kwame Gyan, also in a telephone conversation, insisted that his client has done nothing illegal in this arrangement, and disclosed that Subah Infosolution under the agreement with GRA is expected to hit a certain threshold before GRA pays them, without that the company gets nothing from them.
Both Joseph Siaw Agyapong and Lawyer Kwame Gyan, are expecting the GRA officials to set the records straight on their arrangement.