Concerned officers of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have reflected over the imposition of an unpopular and destructive Board Chairman and an incompetent, mischievous, diabolical and hypocritical Acting Commissioner General on them by the Finance Minister and his cohorts.
The officers remarked that Friday 20th September 2019, will forever remain a dark and black day in the annals of GRA owing to the unexpected, unnecessary and reckless decision to make changes in the Board and Top Management of GRA.
The GRA officers drew an analogy between tax administration and football administration and said that prudent owners and managers do not change winning teams but rather motivate, encourage and support them for continuous improvement in order to chalk more successes.
Unfortunately, according to the GRA officers, that was not to be the case in the GRA. A very knowledgeable and friendly Board Chairman was sacrificed for an erratic and confusion-prone person. The GRA officers maintain that both Mr. Harry Owusu and Mr. Kwame Owusu are several miles ahead of the current Board Chairman in terms of management and development of human resources.
The Concerned Officers feel very nostalgic about Mr. Harry Owusu who was the chairman of the Governing Board of GRA from May 2017 to March 2019 when he was forced to resign under very bizarre and inexplicable circumstances and conditions.
As the Chairman of the erstwhile Governing Board of Revenue Agencies, Mr. Harry Owusu demonstrated real understanding and appreciation of the issues confronting an institution that he was involved in its creation. He was able to unite the Board members individually and collectively to achieve results.
Additionally, he was able to establish a very good working and interpersonal relationship between the Board and Top Management to the admiration of the staff of GRA. The high sense of unity between the Board, Top Management and the staff ensured and guaranteed industrial harmony, the GRA officers further intimated.
The staff were quick to add that they had anticipated a similar working relationship with Mr. Kwame Owusu when they heard of his appointment. The staff stated further that even though they knew that Mr. Harry Owusu was grappling with some health challenges, they feel that he was still preferred to the current Chairman who threats the staff with scorn and disrespect at all times.
The staff went further to state that they became sad when they got to know that the Finance Minister frustrated the appointment of Mr. Kwame Owusu as the Board Chairman of GRA. According to the staff, their investigations confirmed the fact that the Finance Minister refused to swear Mr. Kwame Owusu in as the duly appointed chairman after the Council of State and His Excellency the President of the Republic had approved and given him his instrument of appointment respectively.
The staff stated further that the Finance Minister, for very strange reasons, preferred Professor Stephen Adei to Mr. Kwame Owusu and frustrated the latter until he gave up the quest to formalize his appointment.
That attitude of Mr. Kwame Owusu, based on his principles and conviction, enabled the Finance Minister to appoint Professor Stephen Adei, who had been his long standing friend at Data Bank, to occupy a position that he is not cut out for.
GRA staff are wondering what positive results the controversial Professor had to show for his stay at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and Judicial Advisory Board to convince the Finance Minister to bring such a “mad” person to a very important and strategic institution such as GRA!
One year on, the disappointed staff of GRA have come to realize the reasons why the controversial and erratic Professor was brought to GRA. The GRA staff say that they have seen through deeds, utterances and networks of Professor Adei and can conclude emphatically that the Board Chairman was brought in for a hidden agenda.
The staff intimated that they are gathering all relevant pieces of evidence on the Board Chairman, the Acting Commissioner General, the Commissioners and their links at the Ministry of Finance, especially Ernest Akore and Michael Bediako, and would act appropriately at the right time.
The GRA staff think that their position on the Board Chairman, as they indicated to the Finance Minister during a meeting he had with the Union, still remains.
The Concerned Officers of GRA, who spoke to this paper on conditions of strict anonymity, assert t that they do not like the way the Board Chairman is running the affairs of GRA. The staff intimated further that they wonder the type of Professor the Board Chairman is as he has thrown all rules of good governance in a public institution to the dogs. The Board Chairman is effectively the Commissioner General as he gives instructions always to the incompetent, docile and treacherous “questionable Reverend” Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, who, unfortunately, is accustomed to obeying these instructions and orders with timidity and absolute loyalty.
The Acting Commissioner General is seen by the staff to be so obsessed with the desire to be confirmed as Substantive Commissioner General that he cannot afford and does not want to have any issues with Professor Adei and has therefore sworn to obey and implement all distasteful policies of the Board Chairman.
If it were not so, the GRA staff opined, would any Chief Executive Officer allow a Board Chairman alone (without the consent and concurrence of other Board Members) to suspend promotions, postings and recruitment in any organization on assumption of duty? The Concerned Officers of GRA answered with a ‘’BIG NO’’.
Just about two weeks after Professor Adei was illegally sworn in as Board Chairman on 20th September 2019, he started making very disturbing statements, insulting everybody in GRA with impunity.
In his self-glorification, the Board Chairman arrogated to himself powers that he does not have as a chairman. He was allowed by the incompetent and unintelligent Acting Commissioner General to have a field day assembling officers of GRA insulting them, threatening them with dismissals and demanding removal of persons he and his brother in-law considered to be supporters or sympathizers of the popular and famous legitimately appointed Commissioner General, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti.
Professor Adei is reported by the staff of GRA to have stated at Alisa Hotel in October 2019, at a forum of Chief Revenue Officers and above comprising all Heads of offices, Sector Commanders and Unit Heads, that he had suspended promotions and postings because he did not know the officers. That he needed time to know GRA officers before he could recommend or allow them to be promoted.
All attempts by the senior officers to draw his attention to the sensitive nature of issues of promotions in organizations and the litigations that had gone on in GRA during the era of the NDC Administration of John Mahama fell on deaf ears. Because of the hidden agenda that the Board chairman had to consider his favorites for some positions and promotions, he stubbornly and impudently stuck to his guns. Later events showed the real intentions of this dictatorial Board Chairman.
On all visits to GRA offices in Accra and Tema, the Board Chairman sounded like an Executive Board Chairman by boasting that his Excellency the President wanted him to be the Commissioner General but was disqualified on the grounds of age. As a result, he openly stated, in the presence of Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, that he had been mandated to effect drastic changes and transformation in GRA.
The staff said that their investigations revealed that His Excellency the President never favored the appointment of Professor Adei as the chairman of the Governing Board of GRA. They said their investigations rather pointed to his lobbying skills and persistent harassment of key personalities for positions. According to the staff, they discovered that Professor Adei deliberately attacked His Excellency the Vice President on his convoy to attract attention. It was after that unwarranted attack on His Excellency the Vice President that he managed to get the Finance Minister to seal the deal for his appointment as Board Chairman of GRA.
The GRA staff intimated further that they were surprised about the hatred that Professor Adei and some personalities at Ministry of Finance had and have for Mr Kofi Nti. According to information provided by the GRA Concerned Officers, Professor Adei openly directed that Mr. Kofi Nti should be locked out of his office from the 7th day of October 2019 and in his place his brother in-law, ‘’Rev’’ Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah should move into the office of the Commissioner General. It came to light that Professor Adei had expressed his intentions to move to occupy the office of the Commissioner Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) [which was then occupied by Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah].
The alacrity with which the Board Chairman and his brother in-law wanted to move into these two important offices were quite surprising as none of the two, at that time, had appointment letter for the offices they were occupying .
Upon some reflections and some resistances from the Union and Staff, Professor Adei decided to abandon his ambitions to occupy the office of the Commissioner DTRD and settled for the office of the Deputy Commissioner Legal Affairs and Treaties Department (DC LAT). Even with the occupation of the office of the DC LAT, the Union raised issues with the Board Chairman in a meeting and in a letter addressed to the Acting Commissioner General. The GRA staff were quick to add that they knew that the Acting Commissioner General would not be able to muster any courage to tell the over-ambitious and omnipresent Board Chairman on these acts of aberration.
While all these unorthodox methods of governance were being used by the Board chairman and his incompetent brother in-law as Acting Commissioner General, the other Board members had become disturbed by the turn of events as the chairman never allowed members to express their opinion freely on matters of the Board.
According to the GRA staff, the Board chairman would attend GRA meetings with entrenched positions on issues in briefs prepared in his note book/diary and would roll them out one after the other with no room for compromise or consensus.
A few of the Board Members especially Madam Adelaide Ahwireng and Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarco (Rtd), could not stand the bullyish attitude of the Board Chairman and started drawing his attention to the provisions of GRA Act, 2019 (Act 791) and the fact that decisions of the Board had to be based on majority decisions after the appropriate quorum for the issues had been determined.
That posture of the two Board members did not go down well with the Board chairman. As a matter of fact, on the 4th and 7th October 2019, Professor Adei had bragged that he would have the entire board membership changed.
According to the GRA Officers, the Board Chairman said he wanted an entirely new Board and was expecting the Minister to do so before he held his first Board meeting. Earlier in a very controversial statement, the Board chairman had told staff of GRA and some media houses that he had asked for the removal of the two Deputy Ministers representing Finance and Trade from the Board.
That demand by the Board chairman was met by the Finance Minister when Honourables Kwaku Kwarteng and Carlos Ahenkorah were replaced with the Technical Advisor to the Finance Minister, Mr. Ernest Akore and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Having achieved that feat, the Board Chairman pushed further for the removal of the remaining members of the Board who were not institutional representatives but persons of integrity, professional competence and business acumen. These ‘’poor persons‘’ were Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarcoo (Rtd), Madam Adelaide Ahwireng and Lawyer Mrs. Juliana Addo-Yobo. The Board chairman succeeded in having two out of the three agreeing to resign as had been suggested by the Board chairman and the Finance Minister. The third member and the only female member refused to resign to the chagrin and annoyance of the Board chairman and the Finance Minister.
The Concerned Officers of the GRA say that they salute their mother, the only female representative on the current GRA Board.
After the removal of the two members, the chairman made a very undemocratic move to get a three-member committee of the Board as the Executive Committee to assist his brother-in-law, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah. It had become apparent that the Acting Commissioner General could not measure up to the task of his office. According to the staff, the Acting Commissioner General’s paucity of knowledge, incompetence and extreme docility were affecting the fortunes of GRA.
According to the staff right from June to December 2019 as the Acting Commissioner DTRD, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah never achieved any monthly revenue target. They compared the abysmal performance of Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah to that of the late Commissioner of DTRD, Mr. Kwasi Asante Gyimah, and expressed their displeasure with the Board chairman for pushing to have Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah confirmed as the Substantive Commissioner General.
The Concerned Officers of GRA are worried over the dictatorship and intransigence of the Board Chairman and the incompetence of the Acting Commissioner General and are demanding the immediate removal of the two for industrial harmony in GRA.
The Concerned Officers of GRA say they are against the way and manner in which the Board Chairman and the Acting Commissioner General are running the affairs of the Authority (GRA). According to the staff, everything is now dictated from the Ministry of Finance through the unpopular Board Chairman.
According to the staff, instead of motivating the staff of GRA to improve upon their performances, the Board Chairman and his brother-in-law, the Acting Commissioner General have resorted to using consultancy for all operational and administrative matters in GRA.
The staff intimated further that works that can be done by staff of GRA have been given to dubious consultants of all kinds. The staff say they are not happy with the presence of KPMG and Mckinsey Groups in the operational and administrative matters of GRA. The Concerned Officers of GRA claim that the Commissioner Support Services Division, who does not qualify to be even an Assistant Commissioner, is the one doing all these consultancy services with the support of the Board Chairman and the Acting Commissioner General.
The Concerned Officers of GRA wish to use this medium to appeal to His Excellency the President to remove these destroyers of GRA before they embark on industrial action at this critical time of elections.
The issues of ‘’notional effect’’ in promotions, refusal to promote persons who had been acting in various capacities for over six months and the privatization of the transport department of GRA are matters that the staff and Concerned Officers of GRA are monitoring closely over the next few days before they embark on a very popular industrial action to back their demands for improved conditions of service as per their Collective Bargain Agreement and above all the removal of Professor Stephen Adei as Board chairman and Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah as the Acting Commissioner General.
The Concerned Officers are warning the likes of Nana Asante Bediatuo and others to wash their hands off GRA at this critical time or face the wrath of the staff of GRA. The Concerned Officers want the President to know that because of the actions of the Finance Minister and some of his Special Assistants, Professor Adei, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah and Madam Julie Essiam, the NPP is losing serious grounds at the Ministry of Finance and Ghana Revenue Authority.
They said opinion polls at the two institutions indicate that unless their demands are met, the NPP should count itself lucky if it gets twenty-five percent (25%) of the votes of staff and families of the Ministry of Finance and GRA.
Much as the staff say they love His Excellency the President, they are emphatic in their demand for immediate changes in the Board and Top Management of GRA. The staff say that they do not want Professor Adei and they have told the Minister of Finance. They also say they do not want Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah as their Commissioner General as he lacks appropriate leadership qualities in GRA.