In Support Of Kweku Sakyi Addo’s Foreign Interest War
The Herald’s ongoing investigation into the controversy between the telecom companies and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) over the Subah Infosolution contract, has revealed the existence of a dirty investigative report conducted by the National Communication Authority (NCA) on all telecom companies operating in the country, but has been swept under the carpet.
The dirty NCA report is said to have identified issues about undeclared profits, tax evasion and among many damning things happenings in the telecom industry in Ghana.
The NCA, led by Paarock Vanpercy, according to The Herald’s information engaged the renowned international accounting firm, KPMG to carry out the said investigations on the foreign-owned telecom companies.
But in the awake of the ranging controversy, people are wondering why the NCA, till date has failed to publish the content of that report to allow the public appreciate the enormity of the rot to address the rationale behind government’s engagement of Subah Infosolutions to monitor the talk tax.
Indeed, currently in the possession of The Herald is another investigative report, detailing how one of the telecom companies, has heavily evaded tax to the tune of US$40million.
The company, has an office in Ghana, though owned by South Africans, with offices in Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique and Cameroon.
Also in the possession of The Herald is yet another report conducted by United Kingdom Public Account Committee about how companies, including Telecom Companies in the UK have dodged taxes.
There is also a story of how international calls into Ghana, are being diverted to appear as local calls to avoid paying the mandatory tax on foreign telephone calls.
It was as a result of these diversions and under declaration that led to Subah Infosolution, been tasked to do monitoring of these alleged dubious activities on the part of the telecom companies.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Telecoms Chamber, Kweku Sakyi Addo, has since last week engaged in virtual war with government, following the release of the report on the Subah Infor Solution contract, which established that there was indeed, a legally binding agreement between the GRA and Subah, and that monies paid Subah were lawful.
On Monday, Kweku Sakyi Addo, an employee of the telcos was on radio saying he is convinced Subah is either “irredeemably incompetent” or “fatally fraudulent”, if the company still insists it monitored telcos to check their revenue inflows to help verify if they are paying the right taxes.
But Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga, in reaction expressed frustration at obstacles the telcos have put in government’s way, as it tries to determine whether they pay the right amount of taxes.
Charged Mahama Ayariga hits out at telcos stating, “If telecos want to help Ghanaians, allow Subah ” in to install electronic devices that can do real time monitoring of the payment of the Communication Service Tax.
“No amount of verbose writing by either the Telcos or the Ghana Telcoms Chamber will stop us from doing that,” he vowed.
This process of securing compliance from telecos, have proven too frustrating for the government, Mahama Ayariga suggested.
Kweku Sakyi Addo believes the Committee’s report exonerating Subah InfoSolutions from wrongdoing, was prepared without the informed input of the Chamber.
The Subah saga is a story of how the GRA entered into a contract with Subah InfoSolutions to do electronic monitoring of mobile networks to confirm whether they are being truthful in declaring all their taxes.
Under the contract, Subah was supposed to connect to the physical nodes of the telecom companies to monitor revenues that are supposed to be paid by the telcos, but this was not done.
But it was revealed that Subah InfoSolutions, did not do this work and bagged GHc74 million from 2010-2012.
However, a 14-member committee set up by the Ministry of Finance to investigate the deal branded fraudulent said, there was nothing wrong with the contract and rejected calls for it to be abrogated. But it work has been heavily criticized as being shoddy.
The committee is said to have been composed of at least three staff members of Subah, without any representative from the Telecom Chamber.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show, Monday, Kweku Sakyi Addo, expressed dissatisfaction at how a committee could meet without inviting a single telecommunication company or the telecoms chamber.
This omission has resulted in a report, which he stated “does not reflect the facts…perhaps if we had been invited by the committee we would have provided accurate information”
He said Subah’s claim that telcos denied them access to their call data records could not be true because the telcos are not even aware of Subah’s existence until September 2013. A year after they claimed to have done a two-year monitoring.
“There has not been a single punctuation of correspondence [between Subah and the telcos]”.
He also rubbished Subah’s claim that following unsuccessful attempt to get Call Data Records from telcos, the company resorted to using CDRs obtained from the National Communications Authority (NCA).
But this claim would only expose Subah as incompetent because the data from NCA deals with international call records and not local records as their terms of reference demanded, Kweku Sakyi Addo asserted.
His described Subah’s claim as akin to “watching a game of cricket to analyze a game of football”.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show yesterday, Mahama Ayariga noted “it has taken a long struggle [to secure cooperation]” and fumed “If they want to help Ghanaians, the first thing they should have done is to allow us to have access to their machines”.
The Telcos are yet to allow the installation after all agreements have been finalized.
“Ask the telcos why they insist on us signing all those agreements,” he charged.
The Telcos denied the request citing “the risk of SUBAH listening in to the conversation and messages of their customers”.
Government has had to pass the Act 864 to make it mandatory for telcos to give Government through its agent, physical access.