Row At GRA….Over Ammish’s Confirmation

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Concerned staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is complaining bitterly about the triangulation of incompetence, mismanagement and malfeasance associated with the current Acting Commissioner General, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah. Most of the concerned staff who spoke to this paper alleged that the Acting Commissioner General has demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubts that he is incompetent, does not understand the basic rudiments of management and above all is linked to and is allowing corruption to flourish and nourish in the nation’s main institution charged with the responsibility of collecting, protecting and accounting for tax revenue.

The staff (some of whom alleged that they had seen and have in their possession documents that expose the Acting Commissioner General as incompetent, associated with mismanagement of resources and malfeasance) said that he is so obsessed in being confirmed Commissioner General of GRA that he is prepared to do and has been doing very unthinkable things. He is alleged to have spent and authorized hundreds of thousands of precious Ghana cedis on branding himself, seeking press and media protection, getting the support of persons associated with the corridors of power.

According to the staff, documents that they have in their possession show that, the incompetent Acting Commissioner General, through the Department of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) alone, has caused ‘’financial loss’’ to the state to the tune of over a million cedis. The staff alleged that, under the guise of rebranding Ghana Revenue Authority (Transformation Agenda), the Commissioner General, the Commissioner Support Services Division (SSD) and the Board Chairman have caused financial loss to the state. Huge sums of money have been allegedly paid to some dubious consultants and media houses all in the name of projecting the Acting Commissioner General, the Board Chairman and Commissioner who does not qualify by the Public Services Commission (PSC) standards to be a Commissioner and yet the incompetent ‘’Osofo’’ Commissioner General has allowed this Commissioner to become over powerful and more powerful than the Commissioner General.

But the staff continued their lamentations over the current Acting Commissioner General by saying that he is so weak and incompetent that he has allowed himself to be manipulated by one dubious character called Michael Sakyi. This boy, Michael Sakyi, who attended basic school at Kamina Barracks in Tamale and is a very ‘’empty barrel’’ repeated in classes, is now one of the chief advisors of the incompetent Osofo Commissioner General. The Acting Commissioner General has put his confidence in this boy, Michael Sakyi, believing that the boy says he has worked things out with the Board Chairman and Minister for Finance to get him confirmed as the substantive Commissioner General.

Michael Sakyi is now the darling boy of the incompetent Osofo Commissioner General. With the pretext of protecting revenue by blocking leakages of revenue in both the Customs and Domestic Tax Revenue Divisions, the incompetent Acting Commissioner General has given this rogue carte blanche using GRA resources (vehicles, personnel and money) and military personnel to be harassing innocent law abiding citizens and residents doing legitimate businesses. The said Michael Sakyi and his team are alleged to be extorting huge sums of money from businessmen in various industries, especially the Oil Marketing Companies and the Trading Companies. Michael Sakyi and his team set up by and funded by the Osofo Commissioner General has been extorting these monies with the support and connivance of the ‘’Osofo Commissioner General’’.

The concerned staffs of GRA say that they know of companies that have been swindled by this team and the huge sums of Ghana and foreign currencies that have been collected or seized by them. The concerned staff said they are reliably informed that Michael Sakyi’s team has been deliberately set up by the Osofo Commissioner General for their mutual benefit. The team that also has one of the notorious GRA staff members directly working at the Secretariat of the Acting Commissioner General is on an extortion spree.

In recent times, Michael Sakyi team, with support and connivance of the incompetent Osofo Commissioner General and Board Chairman, has caused the arrest of innocent citizens and placed them in police custody at the Ministries Police Station with impunity using violation of tax laws and regulations as pretext.

The staff of GRA are wondering how Michael Sakyi, a non-tax person, who cannot read nor speak good English can know and understand the various statutes of GRA and tax administration to apply them as rule of law requires. Yet, this is what the incompetent Osofo Commissioner General has allowed to be happening.

This Michael Sakyi boy is a character who was sponsored by Mr. Daniel McKorley of McDan Group of Companies to be ‘’fixed’’by Finance Minister on the assumption of government by the NPP in 2017. He is alleged to have abused the position given to him to extort huge sums of money, engaged in vehicle seizures and appropriation to himself and members of his team, amassed so much illegal money to acquire all kinds of property and engaged in a very extravagant life style. He got into the web of the National Security Secretariat and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI then) on a few occasions but was released on the instructions or plea of the Finance Minister.

In very recent times, the original benefactor of Michael Sakyi, Mr. Daniel McKorley of McDan Group of Companies, caused his arrest and detention for a while. Michael Sakyi was alleged to have committed various criminal offences and had partial freedom only recently. He lost some of his ill-gotten money and fortune as a result of the arrest and detention.

As a very cunning ‘’con person’’ Michael Sakyi strategized and managed to woo the incompetent ‘’Osofo Commissioner General’’ into believing that he had the ears of the powers that be, especially the Finance Minister and Nana Asante Bediatuo, to be able to secure a confirmation for the Acting Commissioner General. Owing to the fact that the ‘’Osofo Commissioner General’’ lacks confidence and the requisite qualities to lead GRA as a competent Commissioner General, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah easily fell prey to this crook called Michael Sakyi and has given him so much latitude, freedom and space to amass wealth for their mutual benefit.

The staff of GRA who have always been giving credible information to this paper said that some of them had seen and felt the incompetence and lack of confidence of the Acting Commissioner General. Some of them said that they had attended meetings with the Acting Commissioner General where very knowledgeable persons were present and they felt ashamed because of the conduct of the Acting Commissioner General. They claimed that the Commissioner General was not on top of the issues of discussions. Moreover, they claimed that the diction and communication skills of the Acting Commissioner General were poor. According to the staff, apart from the inability of the Acting Commissioner General to articulate his views well, his language was poor, making very silly mistakes. But they were quick to add that that had been a major observation by the staff that the Acting Commissioner writes and speaks poor English thereby lowering the high office of the ‘’Commissioner General’’ of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

To the staff, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah is the worst Acting Commissioner General that GRA has had since 2010. They claimed that the Osofo Acting Commissioner General lacks knowledge and understanding of the tax laws. Moreover, they claimed that the Acting Commissioner General exposes his incompetence anytime he speaks at a gathering and that he is only hiding under the vast protection and powers vested in him by the statutes, especially the Ghana Revenue Authority Act.

The staff also lamented over the managerial incompetence of the Acting Commissioner General. According to the staff, the Acting Commissioner General is not assertive or decisive. He is unable to take correct decisions because he is always afraid of his own paucity of knowledge and confidence. He is unable to give clear orders sound in laws and knowledge. The staff said that he is just happy swimming in the ocean of powers (powers conferred on him as the Acting Commissioner General by the GRA Act (Act 791) and the Revenue Administration Act).

The staff pointed out rightly that a good and competent leader must have good human resources management, financial management and logistics management plans.

According to the staff, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah does not appear nor seem to know and understand those plans. The low morale in the staff of GRA attests to his incompetence. Human resource issues are poorly treated in GRA. Dancing to the tunes of the Board Chairman, the Acting Commissioner General was quick to remove a human source expert and replaced him with a non-human resource person. Because the former Deputy Commissioner Human Resource knew his field very well and wanted to ensure that the appropriate rules and regulations were followed in human resource matters, he lost favour with the incompetent Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, unqualified Commissioner SSD and despotic Board Chairman.

The mischievous and treacherous trio of the Acting Commissioner General, Commissioner SSD and Board Chairman replaced him with the wife of an employee of the Board Chairman who has neither Human Resource qualification nor practice. The closest the current Deputy Commissioner of Human Resource has is her stint with Training as the former Assistant Commissioner of Training for the Customs Division of GRA.

Knowing that they could not manipulate and dictate to the former Deputy Commissioner Human Resource on rules and regulations, the ‘’wicked three’’ diabolically plotted and got him removed with alacrity under inexplicable circumstances.

Worse of all, the former Deputy Commissioner Human Resource with over two year seniority as a Deputy Commissioner was replaced with an Assistant Commissioner (AC) who was just one year in the rank of Assistant Commissioner.  The former Deputy Commissioner Human Resource is now head of training and is technically subordinated to the current Deputy Commissioner whose substantive rank is an Assistant Commissioner. This is a clear testimony of incompetence and mismanagement, the concerned officers of GRA asserted!

The staff continued by citing the appointments of other cronies of the Acting Commissioner General to the positions of Head of Information Technology and Debt Management, Compliance and Enforcement (DMCE) as evidence of his incompetence and mismanagement. According to the staff, the major considerations for those appointments were the fact they were school mates of Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah.

Furthermore, the Acting Commissioner General is using these persons to prosecute his malfeasance and self-aggrandizement agenda. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah is using the Head of DMCE( a very known card bearing member of the NDC) to be harassing and collapsing the business and companies of Ghanaian entrepreneurs while allowing and giving dubious Indian, Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish and Chinese companies a field day to milk and exploit the Ghanaian economy with impunity. While terrorizing Ghanaian entrepreneurs, the Acting Commissioner General and his selected teams are alleged to be in bed with these foreigners owing big companies and information filtering in according to the Concerned Staff of GRA, indicates compromising on integrity and malfeasance. The staff hinted that they are seriously gathering the pieces of information and evidence that are relevant and pertinent for proving and/or demonstrating the association of the Acting Commissioner General and the Board Chairman with malfeasance.

According to the concerned staff, they would make these pieces of evidence available at the appropriate time of their choice but warned that they would not spur anybody within GRA and the Ministry of Finance associated with these acts of inappropriate conduct of public officers.

According to the staff, what annoys them most is the ‘’holier-than-thou’’ attitude of the Board Chairman and the Acting Commissioner General. The staff opined that these two characters that are after all fallible and linked to all sorts of deals, are portraying themselves as angels and yet are real representatives of the devil in GRA. The staff accused the two principal officers of GRA of double standards. They preach virtue but practice vice. The staff hinted that the recent procurement of three thousand computers for GRA was tainted with malfeasance from these two angles.

Firstly, the contract was cooked for a company that has the Board Chairman’s son involved in its operations and management. Secondly, the prices of the computers were highly overvalued. The concerned staff says they have evidence of prices of same and comparable computers that are half or less the prices quoted by this supplier who is connected to the Board Chairman and his brother-in-law the Acting Commissioner General.

According to the concerned staff, there are several other dubious and inappropriate payments that have been made by the trio (Board Chairman, Acting Commissioner General and Commissioner SSD) in recent times. The staff said that owing to the support that these three claim to have through the Finance Minister, a Deputy Finance Minister, the Secretary to the President, a brother of the President and some others, they are dissipating the funds of GRA with impunity.

The concerned staff intimated that they will not be cowed into submission and will expose all of them at the right time. The concerned officers of GRA lamented over the roles and actions of the executives of the Labour Union of GRA. According to the concerned staff, the minister, the Board Chairman and the Acting Commissioner General have now ‘’bought’’ the Union Executives and have rendered them toothless bull dogs.

According to the staff, the union executives have surprisingly been compromised after some ‘’behind -the-scenes engagements’’ and are now bed followers of these key appointment holders and are no longer seeking the interest of the staff.

According to the concerned staff, in a recent staff durbar held virtually, the Acting Commissioner General struggled to push through very unpopular decisions of the Ministry and the Board chairman with the Labor Union looking on sheepishly.

For instance, the issue of outsourcing the ownership and management of GRA vehicles to a third party were unwittingly explained by the Acting Commissioner General and yet the Union Executives kept quiet. The rank and file of GRA were disappointed in this latest twist of events. The executives of the Labor Union, who had issued a letter warning management against the decision to outsource the ownership and operation of vehicles of GRA, were no longer interested in making comments against that unpopular decision. At that virtual meeting, the staff intimated that, the performance of the Acting Commissioner General was at best mediocre and in reality very poor.

According to the concerned staff of GRA, they are aware that subsequently and thereafter the Executives of the Labour Union have been involved in surreptitious meetings with the Board Chairman, Top Management and Special Aides to the Minister in order to avert any labour agitation. The drivers and workers in the transport section are already wearing and hanging red bands to warn Top Management against any recalcitrant implementation of the unpopular decision of outsourcing the ownership and operation of GRA vehicles to profit-minded business consultants.

The concerned staff expressed their fears about the multiplicity of consultancy deals in GRA now. They were quick to point out the role of the Acting Commissioner General and the Commissioner Support Services Division in all these.

The concerned staff stated further that they are aware that the Acting Commissioner General and Acting Commissioner SSD are in charge of procurement and finance respectively. Yet owing to the incompetence, docility and lack of confidence on the part of the Acting Commissioner General, the Commissioner SSD is the one who is running all the shows now in GRA. She is the Alpha and Omega while the face of incompetence, the mirror of mismanagement and the “Messi” of malfeasance looks on incapacitated.

According to the staff, the Commissioner SSD who has multiplied her riches exponentially in a very short space of time (sixteen months since becoming an unqualified Commissioner) has now moved her residence to Cantonments (in an area of the richest elites in Ghana), has a private police bodyguard, uses siren and motorcade irresponsibly even in the night and respects nobody in GRA, including the Acting Commissioner General, except the Finance Minister. The staff cannot understand why the Commissioner shows gross disrespect to the Acting Commissioner General with impunity and is slowing down various activities in GRA.

The Commissioner SSD, according to the staff of GRA, is only interested in contracts and consultancies where GRA is bleeding profusely and losing financial resources that have huge opportunity costs.

Various Divisions in GRA lack decent office and residential accommodation, office equipment, stationery, clothing and necessaries and yet the Board Chairman and the Acting Commissioner General have allowed and are supervising profligacy of unimaginable proportions in GRA while the staff lacks very basic items.

It is against this background that the staff is surprised about a letter from the Board Chairman recommending his brother-in-law, Osofo, incompetent, hypocritical and diabolical Acting Commissioner General to the Public Services Commission for confirmation as the Substantive Commissioner General.

The staff are advising the government of the NPP under the able leadership of the courageous and sincere ‘’man of the moment’’ President Akufo-Addo not to make a mistake by confirming the appointment of Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah as the Substantive Commissioner General of GRA.

The staff hinted that if the Public Services Commission interviews and recommends him, the President should still decline the request to appoint him in a Substantive capacity to save GRA and the government from any embarrassment as they would expose the incompetence, mismanagement and malfeasance that have characterized his administration.