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RAGB, Subah Contract — More Questions Than Answers   
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Anxious journalists who thronged a press conference by the leadership of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to address concerns raised by the media on a service contract awarded Revsol/Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited left the venue disappointed as the meeting ended abruptly.

The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, was whisked away in the heat of a flurry of questions coming from journalists during the press conference.

Although the journalists from all sections of the media had to leave dissatisfied, it was not before the Commissioner General had read out a statement rebutting the assertion that an amount of GH¢144 million had already been paid to Subah for no work done.

Answering questions from the few journalists given the opportunity, Mr Blankson said, “My checks show the amount paid to Subah does not amount to GH¢80 million. It is between GH¢74 and GH¢76 million or thereabout. GRA will not pay any amount to any contractor for no work done.”

GRA statement

A statement issued after his address indicated, “To date, Subah has been paid a total sum of GH¢74,356,240 for services rendered under the contract up to August, 2012. This is a little over 50 per cent of the amount stated in the newspapers.”

The Commissioner General explained that Subah ensured an increase in revenue as spelt out in their contract, hence the money which was paid to them.

“We were very meticulous. No payment was made without seeking ministerial approval,” he stressed.

Admitting that Subah was not working fully according to the contract signed between them and the erstwhile Revenue Governing Board, Mr Blankson said they (Subah) were paid from the VAT refund account “and that was because originally the payment was coming from the ministry but the Ministry (of Finance) gave specific approval that instead of going through that process the payment must come from the VAT refund account.”

According to the Commissioner General, the account was considered as an addition to revenue and that after revenue increase had been achieved, part of it was refunded to the company that was responsible or had had a major hand in bringing that particular increase about.

Award of contract

Explaining how Subah was awarded a five-year contract through sole sourcing to conduct revenue assurance on payment of Communication Service Tax (CST) by the country’s telecommunication companies (telcos), he said the National Communication Authority (NCA) carried out a technical evaluation and issued a report confirming that Subah had the technical expertise and equipment for carrying out the task.

The task given to Subah had two components – Ascertaining the veracity of the total volume of traffic (minutes of call) declared by the companies as a basis for calculating the amount of CST payable and verifying the correct application of tariffs to the individual calls (e.g. whether a call should attract eight pesewas or two pesewas).

Mr Blankson said Subah fell short of performing the other half of the contract because a request to physically connect its equipment to the physical network nodes of the telcos was denied, citing the risk of listening in to the conversation and messages of their customers.

“In the circumstance, Subah has been carrying out only the monitoring relating to verification of the application of the correct CST rate to the volume of traffic declared by the telcos.”

Ministry of Finance statement

Meanwhile, a statement on the matter issued October 27 2013 by Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Deputy Minister of Finance, said as far back as May 2013, concerns had been raised by the Minister about the efficiency in the implementation of the agreement.

“The Minister, therefore, directed the Tax Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance and GRA to halt payments to Subah Infosolutions LTD until a proper review of performance under the contract had been undertaken.

“Subsequently a team was put together to review the agreement and make recommendations to the Minister about a possible renegotiation of the contract, whose tenure runs until May, 2015. The team has recently submitted its preliminary report to the Minister for study and further action.

“The Ministry, therefore, assures the public that the report of the review would be duly implemented and that no additional payments would be made until this process is complete and value for money is assured.”
Source: Daily Graphic

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