GRA Board Dissolved?

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There is an unfortunate development at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as to whether or not the Governing Board has been dissolved. Media publications in recent times have sought to create the impression, and have indeed succeeded in doing so, that the Governing Board of GRA has been dissolved. A school of thought however believes that there is no such dissolution except that the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Anthony Oteng-Gyasi, has resigned. This position appears to be buttressed by the provisions of the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791), specifically Sections 4 and 6 thereof.

Section 4 of the GRA Act, 2009, deals with the membership of the Governing Body of the Authority while Section 6 covers the tenure of office of members of the Board. Section 4(1) states that the Governing Body of the Authority is a Board consisting of the following:

  • A Chairperson
  • The Commissioner General of the Authority
  • A representative of the Ministry of Finance not below the rank of a Director
  • A representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry not below the rank of a Director
  • The Governor of the Bank of Ghana or a representative of the Governor not below the rank of a Deputy-Governor and
  • Four other persons from the private sector, two of whom are women.

Section 4(2) states that “the President should appoint the Chairperson and members of the Board in accordance with Article 70 of the Constitution.”

Article 70 of the 1992 Constitution covers appointments by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State. Thus all members of the GRA Board and the Chairperson shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of State.

Our investigations revealed that the first Governing Board of GRA under His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo was appointed in May 2017 with the late Mr. Harry Owusu as the Chairperson, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, then Commissioner General, Mr. Ernest Akore and later Hon. Kwaku Kwarteng representing Ministry of Finance, Hon. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah representing Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari representing Bank of Ghana, Major Daniel Ablorh Quarcoo (Rtd), Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), Madam Adelaide Ahwireng and Mrs. Juliana Addo-Yobo as Members.

The first Board was reconstituted in September 2019 when Professor Stephen Adei was appointed as the Chairperson; Mr. Ernest Akore was re-appointed a Member to replace Hon. Kwaku Kwarteng as the representative for the Ministry of Finance; Mr. Nimo, Chief Director of Ministry of Trade and Industry replaced Hon. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah. Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah replaced Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti as Commissioner General.

It is instructive for the public to know that in February 2019, Mr. Harry Owusu resigned his position as the Chairperson of the GRA Board. Our investigations further revealed that in accordance with Section 7(4) of the Ghana Revenue Act, 2009 (Act 791), Madam Adelaide Ahwireng was elected by the members to act as the Chairperson from February 2019 to 20th September 2019 without the dissolution of the Board.

On 6th January 2021, the first GRA Board under President Akufo-Addo was dissolved together with all Governing Boards of Public Entities to end the first term of office of His Excellency the President.

The second Board of GRA under President Akufo-Addo was inaugurated in July 2021 with the following membership:

  1. Dr. Anthony Oteng-Gyasi                             –              Chairperson
  2. Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah            –              CG
  3. Madam Eva Mends                                         –              Ministry of Finance
  4. Hon. Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei  –                Min. of Trade and Industry
  5. Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari                              –              Bank of Ghana
  6. Rev. Prof. Ohene Kyei                                   –              Private Sector
  7. Madam Adelaide Ahwireng                         –              Private Sector
  8. Mrs. Dela Obeng-Sakyi                  –              Private Sector
  9. Mr. Kwabena Boaten                                     –              Private Sector

An interesting part of this membership of the GRA Board is the fact that Mr. Kwabena Boaten is the brother of Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta.

Section 6(1) of Act 791 stipulates that “A member of the Board should hold office for a period of not more than four years and is eligible for re-appointment but a member shall not be appointed for more than two terms.”

Section 6 (1) does not apply to a person whose membership is by virtue of that person’s employment.

Section 6(3) provides that a member may at any time resign from office in writing addressed to the President through the Minister for Finance. So the resignations of both late Mr. Harry Owusu and Dr. Anthony Oteng-Gyasi were in accordance with an express provision of Act 791.

Section 6(5) states that the President may by a letter addressed to a member revoke the appointment of that member.

Our investigations have shown that as at date, no member of the Board, apart from Dr. Anthony Oteng-Gyasi, has resigned. Additionally, the President has not by a letter written to any member of the July 2021 re-constituted Board of GRA to revoke their appointments.

In the light of the above revelations, can we legally and justifiably say that the Board of GRA has been dissolved? The answer is NO.

Is it the first time that the Chairperson of the GRA Board has resigned? NO, because Mr. Harry Owusu resigned in 2019.

Did the resignation of Mr. Harry Owusu lead to the dissolution of the entire Board? The answer is NO. Was the Board able to function after the resignation of Mr. Harry Owusu? The answer is YES. How was the Board able to function? The remaining members elected one of the members to act as the chairperson from February 2019 till 20th September, 2019 when Prof. Stephen Adei was appointed as the Chairperson. So what makes the current situation different? Why is it that the current GRA Board is speculated or presumed to be dissolved just because the Board Chairman has resigned?

Has a new Board Chairman been appointed? If so, when was his appointment made? Has the person been appointed in consultation with the Council of State as Article 70 of the Constitution demands by virtue of Section 4(2) of Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791)?

Rumours are rife that Hon. Joe Ghartey has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Governing Board of GRA. Rumours also have it that the representatives of the Bank of Ghana, Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, have been replaced. Are these rumours to be believed?

Our investigations have revealed that there have been meetings or purported meetings of a GRA Board chaired by Hon. Joe Ghartey at the Ministry of Finance. According to our sources, new representatives from the Bank of Ghana, Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry attended the said or purported meetings.

If these assertions are true then what is the status of the four persons appointed from the private sector in July 2021? Have new persons been appointed to replace them? If so, who are these persons?

Can the President appoint persons to positions that have not been declared vacant on the GRA Board?

The circumstances under which vacancies are declared on the GRA Board are specified in Section 6(7) of Act 791. Section 6(7) states as follows:

“Where there is a vacancy

  • under subsection (3), (4), (5) or 8(2),
  • as a result of a declaration under subsection (6) or
  • by reason of the death of a member,

the Minister shall notify the President of the vacancy and the President shall appoint a person to fill  the vacancy”.

We are persuaded to believe that both substantive and procedural laws are imperative in these circumstances.  Has the Honourable Minister for Finance written to the President that the four persons, appointed from the private sector in July 2021, are unable to perform their functions as members of GRA Board as per Section 6(7)?

If yes, has that same information been communicated to those four persons? If no, why is the Minister for Finance preventing the four persons from attending those meetings or purported meetings at the Ministry of Finance chaired by Hon. Joe Ghartey?

Natural justice requires that persons should be treated fairly with dignity especially where they were called upon to perform a national assignment such as serving on the Board of GRA.

Why is it that no formal communication is being made to the affected persons? Is it the case that they are crying wolf when there is none? Does it mean that they are still at post? Were the media publications meant to test the waters before any revocation of their appointments is made?

Are we not allowing unnecessary or avoidable comments and attacks on the Ministry, the Jubilee House and the “Mafias”? We hope these stakeholders heard the comments from Professor Stephen Adei who believes that he was treated unfairly when he was removed as the Board Chairman in July 2021 without any notice or information!

Our investigations showed that the situation of Professor Stephen Adei in 2021 is entirely different from the treatment being meted out to the four persons in the current case. In the case of Professor Adei, he had ceased to be a Board Chairman of GRA on 6th January, 2021 by virtue of the letter from the Presidency signed by the Chief of Staff as the tenure of office of all Public Boards was deemed to be coterminous with the mandate of the President. Professor Adei had hoped to be re-appointed as the Chairman of GRA Board in July 2021. Professor Adei had forgotten that the Unions of GRA had written formally to demand his removal from office as the Chairman of the Governing Board for stated reasons.

In the cases of Rev. Prof. Peter Ohene Kyei, Madam Adelaide Ahwireng, Mrs. Dela Obeng Sakyi and Kwabena Boaten, no such protests had come from the unions. Moreover, the tenure of the current GRA Board, barring any of the provisions in Section 6(7) of Act 791, is coterminous with the second mandate of President Nana Akufo-Addo at midnight 6 /7 January 2025.

Further investigations have shown that the “re-constituted Board of GRA” (with Hon. Joe Ghartey as Chairman – if indeed he has been so appointed; the three new representatives from the Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade and Industry, Prof. Ohene Kyei, Madam Adelaide Ahwireng, Mrs. Dela Obeng-Sakyi and Mr. Kwabena Boaten could still function (hold meetings – main and committee meetings) in the absence of any express revocation of the appointments of the latter four.

Section 7(1) of Act 791 states that the Board shall meet at least once every three months for the dispatch of business at times and in places determined by the Chairperson.

In consonance with this provision of Act 791, the GRA Board held meetings (main and Committee meetings) during the first quarter (three months) of 2024 (i.e. January to March). Time is still on the side of the Board to hold meetings in the second quarter (three months) of 2024 starting from 1st April, 2024 to 30th June, 2024.

According to the school of thought that believes that the GRA Board has not been dissolved (and that at worst what has happened is a reconstituted Board), the Board Secretary should be able to convene Board meetings at the instance of the new Chairman (Hon. Joe Ghartey), as per section 7(1) of Act 791 or at the request in writing of not less than one-third (the four private sector members have that capacity) of the membership as per section 7(2).

Will that happen? Will the Board Secretary be able to serve notices of any Board meeting now? Will Hon. Joe Ghartey and the four institutional Representatives (the Commissioner General, Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade and Industry) continue to do business for the GRA Board without the involvement of the four members from the private sector? Only time will tell.

Our sources have learnt that the current state of affairs was orchestrated by the Acting Commissioner General to enable her have unfettered powers and authority to execute her agenda. From our very reliable sources, the Acting Commissioner General is in haste to execute all the contracts that the Dr. Anthony Oteng-Gyasi Board kicked against or asked for justifications (further and better particulars). In the current state of affairs the Acting Commissioner General is alleged to have signed various contracts including a huge loan from a notable bank to complete the controversial GRA headquarters at Kanda without the approval of the Board. Furthermore, our impeccable sources have indicated that all the controversial contracts for the operations of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD), which were objected to by the Top Management of DTRD and the Board at its last meeting, have allegedly been signed by the Acting Commissioner General. According to our sources, it was a promise to execute these contracts that earned the Acting Commissioner General her appointment as it was believed that all the three former Commissioners (Customs Division, Support Services Division and the former Commissioner General) were to leave office at the end of March 2024.

There would be more and detailed revelations on the contracts that have been signed by the Acting Commissioner General since her assumption of office.

Our ace investigators have learned that the Acting Commissioner General demanded the dissolution of the entire GRA Board. The Acting Commissioner General thought the Dr. Oteng-Gyasi Board was an obstacle in her way and knew a lot about her strategies and plans. We got to know that the Dr. Oteng-Gyasi Board had queried the former and the current Commissioner General over contracts that they refused or failed to bring to the Board for its oversight responsibility when they had been expressly directed to do so. To demonstrate how powerful that they were (power of blackmail and support from the Minister), the former and current Commissioner General refused or failed to respond to the queries with impunity. Now the “GRA Maradonna” has outwitted everybody who matters and has achieved her undeserved ambition to become the first female Commissioner General.

According to our sources, that had been her ambition right from May 2019 when she was appointed the Commissioner for the Support Services Division. She is alleged to have influenced the termination of the contract of Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti as the Commissioner General to pave the way for her former Ecobank “subordinate”. Once her former subordinate was appointed the Commissioner General, she knew, it was only a question of time and her dream would become true.

But the minds of some concerned persons within and outside GRA are agitated by the appointment of the current Commissioner General. Very pertinent questions are being asked. Was the former Commissioner Support Services Division ever confirmed as a Commissioner by the Public Services Commission? Did Prof. Stephen Adei threaten to get her contract terminated on the basis of non-qualification as a Commissioner? Was she also behind the threat by the Unions to embark on industrial action (strikes) if Prof. Adei were to continue in office? Is it not an open secret that the Unions of GRA are in the pockets of the Acting Commissioner General? Has the Acting Commissioner General not been awarding various contracts to the Executives of the Unions to silence them? Who buys the end of year items (rice, cooking oil, etc.) for staff, even against the directives of the Board?

Why did the Unions drop their demand for the GRA Headquarters to be built on GRA’s land at the Airport Residential Area and not at Kanda which belongs to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation?

Is it true that history is repeating itself as the period January 7, 2021 to July 2021 was deliberately left without a GRA Board to enable the former and current Commissioner General to execute contracts without any controls? Is the period April to July 2024 going to be the same? Please stay tuned for more revelations on the GRA Board.