…How Deal Was Cooked & Executed
Details are emerging on how the Ministry of Finance under the watch of Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, cooked over $18.5 million deal for an international consulting firm, Mckinsey Group, and foisted it on the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
GRA has so far forked out the $18.5million to the Mckinsey Group whiles the state revenue officers who work under strenuous conditions still struggle to have their legitimate allowances paid them.
This paper learnt that the deal became so crucial to the minister that anyone who raised issues bordering on its shadiness had the top men of the finance ministry to contend with.
Mckinsey Group, contracted to help boost the revenue collection activities of the state revenue outfit, a section of Ghanaians believe, did nothing good to warrant the payment of the $18.5million.
More so, at the time Mckinsey Group was engaged for such task, the GRA was doing better, with some 23% GDP revenue as nominal growth contribution while the Mckinsey Group was to contribute some 17% of Tax –Revenue GDP of which GRA was doing 12%. The Mckinsey Group failed something some of the Board Members of the GRA saw as totally wrong.
Some of the Board Members at the time described the deal as unconscionable and, therefore, could not be part of it.
Other Members of the Board felt that the Mckinsey Group deal should be terminated because it was financial loss to the state.
Two Deputy Ministers, who were Board Members of the GRA, were ‘hammered’ out of the board because of they having issues with the questionable deal.
Kofi Nti And Mckinsey Deal
The GRA had Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti as the Commissioner-General when the Mckinsey deal was foisted on the state security outfit.
Per what The Inquisitor has on the grubby deal, Mr. Nti was the person who authorized the first tranche of $1 million payment to Mckinsey, something that led to misunderstanding between Mr. Nti and his board.
Although Mr. Nti was authorized by the powerful hands at the Ministry of Finance, headed by Mr. Ofori-Atta to pay Mckinsey some more money, at the time, the board had to disallow him because it was beyond his threshold as Commissioner-General of the GRA.
However, he went on to pay additional money totalling $6million to Mckinsey Group.
Two board members, Ms. Juliana Addo-Yobo and Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarcoo (Rtd), had to be forced out of the GRA board aside the two Deputy Ministers, Messrs Kwaku Kwarteng and Carlos Ahenkorah, who were representing the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, respectively.
Mr. Kwarteng was replaced by Mr. Ernest Akore on the GRA board from the Ministry of Finance, a replacement that sparked commotion as it was contrary to rules of engagement which state that the Finance Ministry representative on the GRA board should be an official with the rank of Director or beyond. Mr. Akore who is an Advisor to the minister, was not a Director; but smuggled onto that board.
It is common knowledge that Mr. Nti was kicked out of GRA as the Commissioner-General because of issues relating to the Mckinsey deal.
Enter Prof. Adei And Ammishaddai
The new Board Chairman and the new Commissioner-General, Professor Stephen Adei and Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, were therefore, asked by big players at the Ministry of Finance to renegotiate with Mckinsey.
The new team was, though alerted on how bad the deal was, it defended itself that the contract could be paid but not exceed $15million.
Some $15million and administrative cost of $3.5million were paid to Mckinsey Group, although there were evidences that GRA made revenue shortages within the period that the group was engaged.
Meanwhile, Organized Labour of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is at loggerheads with the Commissioner-General of the state revenue agency, for disrespecting the staff of the authority.
Mr. Ammishaiddai Owusu-Amoah is being accused by the Organized Labour of not responding to numerous letters and memos addressed to him on issues bordering on the welfare of the very people who collect revenue for the state.
In a strong-worded memo dated February 4, 2021, titled ‘DISPLEASURE’, the Organized Labour of GRA said that they deem the failure of Commissioner-General to respond to their letters and memos as disrespectful to the leadership of the Organized Labour, whose mandated roles and responsibilities are recognized by the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) and articles 1 and 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and that the Organized Labour are partners in managing the GRA.
In the memo, the Organized Labour made of Public Service Workers Union (PSWU) and GRA Workers Union gave the Commissioner-General last Monday to convene Standing Joint Negotiations Committee Meetings to initiate the pending new CBA negotiations.
Organized Labour also gave the Commissioner-General up to February ending 2021 to conclude salary negotiations and also pay clothing allowance.
They gave the Commissioner-General up to March ending 2021 to pay 2020 Annual Bonus and; up to April ending to conclude discussions and payment of 2020 incentive bonus.
Failure to address the issues, they said, would force them to embark on industrial action.
The GRA staff, before the February 4, 2021 memo, was seething with anger as to why the Commissioner-General was not ready to listen to them on matters relating to their conditions of service.
The state revenue personnel who are not getting the ears of the Commissioner-General, are to collect some GH¢60billion as revenue targeted for the 2021.
Interestingly, the same Mr. Owusu-Amoah, who is not ready to sit with the Organized Labour to fashion out how best the welfare of the workers would be secured, is the very person who announced the revenue targeted for the year.
In announcing the revenue target, Mr. Owusu-Amoah said that although the amount was ambitious, the GRA had mapped out strategies to ensure that it was achieved.
But the angry GRA staff are saying that unless something dramatic happens that target could not be achieved because the workers are not motivated enough to work towards that.
There are murmurings within the workers of the GRA that claims that revenue targets were met in recent times were false, as there were lots of evidences that there were shortfalls because of how bad Mr. Owusu-Amoah was treating the revenue officers.
Meanwhile, the Organized Labour is likely to embark on a series of strike actions should the Commissioner-General refuse to call them to the table just like he refuse to acknowledge various letters from them.