The Deputy Finance Minister, who is currently in charge of Revenue, Abena Osei-Asare, has denied knowing “details” of a controversial revenue contract involving SML Ghana Ltd.
The Minister’s response comes at a time the government of Ghana is confirmed to have been paying SML Ghana over US$140Million every year for work being already done effectively by the Gha a Revenue Authority (GRA).
According to a report by The Fourth Estate, there is record of any “work done” as officials of SML Ghana themselves could not name a single revenue anomaly they have helped to address after pocketing more than Billions of Cedis yearly from the government of Ghana.
The SML company has been accused of being a participant in an elaborate “create loot and share” scheme despite GRA doing all the work alone with its own systems.
A second report by Newspaper Herald on the activities of SLM seeking the perspective of the Deputy Minister in charge of revenue proved futile.
The Minister who openly supported Alan Kyeremateng as against Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia promised to revert to the paper on the SML deal but failed, the paper said.
She had replied to a WhatsApp message sent to her on the activities of SML saying, “I’m not aware of the details, so I will have to revert, pls”. But she never did as promised.
Investigations by the Fourth Estate showed the Managing Director of SML, Christian Tetteh Sottie, was Ghana’s Controller and Accountant-General from 2005-2009 and is currently a board member of the Internal Audit Agency. He was once an Assistant Commissioner at the GRA and as at the time of the signing of the alleged duplicitous contract, Mr. Sottie was the Technical Advisor to the Commissioner General of the GRA.
Reports say Mr. Sottie left his job as the Technical Advisor to the GRA Commissioner General in the same year to manage SML Ghana in 2020 when the company started implementing its contract with the GRA, raising crucial questions of conflict of interest and potential corruption of public office.
Again, The GRA has been the only customer of SML Ghana since its establishment, according to Mr. Sottie. This means at the time the company was handpicked for the contract through the single source procurement method, it had no prior experience in the services it claimed to have expertise.
If the Deputy Finance Minister’s reply to the queries is to be believed, it suggests the SML Ghana deal may have been “arranged” above her head and without her knowledge by her superiors although she is in charge of revenue at the Ministry of Finance.