GRA Boss Goes Wild Over Subah Payments

GEORGE BLANKSON, Commissioner-General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has asked Ghanaians to stop blaming him for the payment of huge sums of money to Subah Infosolutions Limited. According to him, the transaction was brokered by the Ministry of Finance which gave authorization to GRA to pay the company. The GRA boss has been heavily criticized by the public for allegedly supervising the payment of over GH¢144 million to Subah Infosolutions for no work done. Subah was supposed to monitor telecommunication traffic of the operators, among others. Mr. Blankson, in a statement, said the amount being quoted in the media is inaccurate, stating that about GH¢75 million was paid to the company and not GH¢144 million. He said due diligence was followed before the payment of the money to the company, adding that “as far as I am concerned, I have done nothing wrong so the public should leave me alone.” There is no way GRA would make payment without checking work done and also without the approval of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Blankson indicated. Contract He said an agreement between the Revenue Agencies Governing Board and Suban Infosolutions Limited was signed for a period of five years, which commenced in May 2010. Mr. Blankson said the procedure for selecting the company was in accordance with the requirement of Public Procurement Authority Act, adding that its operations were being monitored by the Ministry of Finance and the National Communications Authority (NCA). He said as part of the procurement process, the NCA carried out a technical evaluation and issued a report confirming that Subah had the technical expertise and equipment of communication service tests. Mr. Blankson said the task of revenue assurance on collection and accounting for the communication services tax by the telcos had two components. The first was to ascertain the veracity of total value of traffic declared by the telcos as basis for calculating the amount of the communication service tax payable while the second task was to verify the correct application of tariffs to the individual calls for instance whether a call should attract eight pesewas per minute or zero pesewas per minute. According to the terms of the contract, Subah was expected to physically install its monitoring devices at the premises of the telecom companies. But the telecom companies denied reports that monitoring system was incorporated into their systems by Subah. “In the wake of signing of the service agreement, Subah requested to physically connect its equipment to the physical network nodes of the telcos; but the request for physical access was denied by the telcos, citing the risk of Subah listening in on the conversation and messages of their customers. Subah could not therefore have access to the physical network nodes of the telcos,” Mr. Blankson explained. “In the circumstance, Subah has been carrying out monitoring relating to verification of the application of the correct CST to the volume of traffic declared by the telcos. This is done by Subah obtaining the CDs on the volume of traffic supplied by the telcos to NCA containing the details of the traffic volumes they declared.” NCA however denied knowledge of the contract.