It has become crystal clear to most employees of GRA that Professor Adei came to GRA with a hidden agenda. His main agenda was to get rid of Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti as Commissioner-General (CG) and replace him with “his brother – in – law”. Our research has revealed that the Board Chairman of GRA started flirting with the Finance Ministry, by virtue of his membership on the Ministry’s Advisory Board, as soon as the NPP Administration took over from the NDC Administration in January 2017.
Our scouts discovered that the Board Chairman had intimated to the Finance Minister in 2019 that he could get him a “Man of God” to run the affairs of GRA to “rid it of theft and corruption.” This was during the turbulent days of early 2019 when there was total disunity in the Top Management of GRA. All the three Commissioners working directly under Mr Kofi Nti were lobbying various sources of power to take over from their boss. The then Commissioner of the Support Services Division was then the front runner for the race to become the Commissioner-General. This air of confusion was exploited by the current Board chairman. He was alleged to be behind the request to force the former Board Chairman, Mr Harry Owusu, to resign.
Using the failing health of Mr Harry Owusu as a pretext, the current Chairman and his protégé’s caused the subtle removal of the former Head of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) as the Chairman of GRA in February 2019. The plan to get the white-bearded Professor to inherit Mr Harry Owusu suffered an initial setback as Mr Kwame Owusu, an indefatigable NPP Change Management expert was given an appointment letter by His Excellency the President of the Republic to become the Board Chairman of GRA.
Using unfriendly media publications on Mr Kwame Owusu as a pretext, the Finance Minister refused to get Mr Kwame Owusu sworn in as the Board Chairman of GRA. It was around the same time that the current Board Chairman started lobbying for his brother in -law to become the Commissioner General of GRA. The “brother in- law” of the current chairman was nearing the end of his contract in Tanzania and was likely to become unemployed thereafter.
When the pressure was brought to bear on the Finance Minister not to remove Mr Kofi Nti, the three Commissioners were sacrificed and in their places, the current Commissioners were appointed in May 2019 to assume duty in June 2019. Even though Mr Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah was appointed Acting Commissioner Domestic Tax Revenue Division (Comm DTRD), he never liked it. He was impatiently waiting for the ultimate goal, the position of Commissioner-General. His demeanor and actions all indicated that he was the heir apparent to Mr Kofi Nti. When powerful persons conspired with the support of the current Board Chairman to stage a coup d’état on 20th September 2019, it was obvious that Professor Adei’s dream was about to be fulfilled and his brother-in-law would obtain the ultimate.
The appointment of Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah as the Acting Commissioner General came as a surprise to most employees of GRA, especially those in the Domestic Tax Revenue Division. According to the Union of GRA, the performance of the Division of Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah (the DTRD) had been witnessing an inexplicable decline in revenue targets consistently from June through July, August to September 2019 when he was to benefit from the coup d’état of the Black Friday of GRA.
Indeed, the employees of GRA, especially those of the DTRD, knew of the incompetence of the Acting Commissioner DTRD (now elevated to the position of Acting Commissioner General) and the consistent inability of the Division under his leadership to achieve any of its monthly targets for 2019. According to the GRA staff, instead of putting in measures to turn the fortunes of his main Division (DTRD) into positive results, Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, with the help of his brother-in-law, run for cover to enjoy his illegal position as the Acting Commissioner General thereby compelling the Head of the Large Taxpayer Office (LTO) to use his rich experiences, knowledge, and competence to reduce the negative deviations.
Unfortunately, owing to the incompetence and ineffective leadership of Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, according to the DTRD officers, in his capacity as both the Acting Commissioner DTRD and Acting Commissioner-General, the revenue performance of GRA saw a consistent pattern of negative deviations.
To hide that shame, the Board Chairman and his “Team B” resorted to “ways and means” to bridge the revenue deficit in December 2019. They miraculously announced to the whole world that GRA had exceeded its target when in fact that was not the case. The aim of that reckless pronouncement by the Board Chairman was to show to Ghanaians that he and his “brother-in-law” had succeeded in turning the last quarter of 2019 into positive deviations for GRA in an unprecedented manner.
The staff of GRA knew and still knows that the current Acting Commissioner General is nowhere near Mr Kofi Nti in terms of academic and professional qualifications and most importantly in experience and maturity. It was, therefore, a defensive strategy on the part of the Board Chairman and his “brother-in-law” to use unprofessional and unorthodox methods to rake in more revenue when it became apparent by the beginning of the last quarter (October 2019) that only a miracle could turn the negative deviations of GRA into positive deviations by the end of the last quarter of 2019.
To prove that God had listened to their prayers, the “dictatorial and autocratic” Board Chairman moved from one media house to the other pontificating his gargantuan achievements of exceeding GRA’s 2019 target. Thanksgiving Church Services were subsequently held in Accra and Kumasi to make the farce look credible and worthy of commendation.
This is what the Organised Labour of GRA exploited to their advantage in their letter of 14th April 2020. The fourth point of that letter read: “Regrettably, Organised Labour could neither comprehend nor accept the arguments outlined on the achievements of the 2019 target in your memo”. It continued “How can the Board Chairman and with your support, tell the world that GRA has met its 2019 annual target, supported this claim with empirical figures and facts, received all the commendations thereafter, had a Thanksgiving service to honour GOD both in Accra and Kumasi and only for a few months later (because of 15% bonus payment to staff) suggest to mean otherwise?”
The letter of the Organised Labour asked a very pertinent question: “Can GRA go back to the media and tell the whole world that it lied on the issue of achieving the 2019 annual target….”
It is obvious from the letter of the Organised Labour that the Board Chairman and his brother-in-law lack integrity and credibility. Integrity and credibility are two powerful character traits that true, genuine, and competent leaders must have and demonstrate in all circumstances. But, unfortunately, the two “Men of God” have failed that test and consequently have lost the confidence and trust of the staff of GRA. If “Reverend Ministers” of such status can lie between their teeth to the whole world then only God knows where they are sending GRA and mother Ghana to. The Board Chairman according to our investigations is also very hypocritical and shares some character traits with his brother-in-law.
Immediately after arrogating powers meant for the whole Board to himself, the Chairman told Board members, members of the Management Teams of GRA and staff that but for his age (over 70 years), the President was going to appoint him the Commissioner-General to transform GRA in the lenses of his own myopic, self- centered and weird ideas [It may be of interest for readers to know that the Board chairman lobbied the Minister of Education to be allowed to go back to GIMPA as the Rector as he falsely believes that he is the only expert in transformation in the whole country. Luckily for Ghanaians, the Honourable Minister of Education politely declined his dangerous offer.]
The Board Chairman repeated this claim everywhere in GRA and surprisingly in the presence of his brother-in-law who looked on helplessly as the Professor bragged about this.
Yet, rather sadly, the Board Chairman never produced any appointment letter from the Office of the President giving legal backing to his unfounded assertion. Nevertheless, the Board Chairman’s behavior has always been as if he were the Commissioner-General. He shouts at all Board members who express a contrary opinion to his unpopular decisions. According to our research, the Board Chairman does not respect the Top Management of GRA and gives directives to his brother-in-law as if he were one of his laborers at his schools.
It is the disrespect for Board Members, Top Management and staff of GRA that made the Organised Labour devote two important paragraphs of their letter of 14th April 2020 to describe the unlawful conduct of the Board Chairman as follows after point 3:
“Sir, it is also worth mentioning that dictatorship, intimidation, insults, and culture of fear or silence have never been part of the GRA corporate culture. Regrettably, these appear to be the trend ever since the assumption of office of the current Board Chairman. This trend is unacceptable to Staff and if not urgently checked, could undermine the dignity and respect that beholds the Board. GRA is made up of dignified, qualified, and seasoned professionals and the same dignity and respect must be accorded us.”
These are very powerful words that the Union used to describe the Board Chairman in their letter to the Acting Commissioner-General.
Our sources affirm the description of the Board Chairman of GRA. For instance, the Board Chairman is alleged to have suspended all promotions, postings, and recruitments in GRA with effect from Monday 7th October 2019.
These instructions were issued by him unilaterally as the Board Chairman. Is that not a sign of dictatorship? Did he have a Board meeting to have a Board’s decision on such sensitive areas of management?
Certainly not. He arrogated to himself the powers of the Board. For the avoidance of any doubt, the functions of the GRA Board and its composition are found in Sections 5 and 4 respectively of the Ghana Revenue Act, 2009 (Act 791). The powers of the Board are vested in all the members as a Board through majority decisions determined by a quorum of not less than 5 members or even more when important matters are to be determined.
These are statutory provisions that a disciplined Board Chairman must respect. It was and is wrong for the Board Chairman to have suspended the three important managerial functions of the Top Management of GRA in a very unilateral and unlawful manner.
The Board Chairman said at GRA gatherings and to the media that he wanted an entirely new board where all the old members, and in particular the two Deputy Ministers of Finance and Trade, were to be relieved of their membership on the GRA Board of Directors.
He was cited by the media to the effect that he had sacked all the politicians from the Board. This assertion is ultra vires the authority of a Board Chairman. He is alleged to have made very dangerous derogatory remarks about the two Honorable members of Parliament and Deputy Ministers.
Between 7th and 20th October, the Board Chairman was on honeymoon and nuptial flights firing recklessly at GRA staff.
For instance, at Alisa Hotel in Accra and the Long Room of Customs at Tema, the Board Chairman insulted GRA staff as thieves and a bunch of corrupt personnel. But at the Alisa Hotel, his bluff and hypocrisy were exposed by a senior officer of the DTRD.
Professor Adei had falsely accused personnel of GRA of deliberately slapping taxpayers with exaggerated assessments to force or persuade the taxpayers to “play a game” with the GRA staff. But the senior officer owned up to responsibility and indicated that the assessment on the Board Chairman at the Legon Medium Taxpayer Office (MTO) was very fair. It turned out from the argument that it was rather the Board Chairman who wanted to play fast ones on GRA.
The appointments of the favorites of the Board Chairman and the “brother-in-law” into very sensitive positions such as Transport, Human Resource, Information Technology, and Procurement expose them as hypocrites. The Board Chairman in his infamous defense of suspending promotions said that he wanted to have ample time to study the positions and their occupants as he felt that personnel had been appointed and promoted to some positions based purely on favoritism or dislike for some people and not competence, merit and exigencies of GRA.
After about six months, the real intentions of the Board Chairman and his brother-in-law have been exposed. The “Officer-In-Charge” of Human Resource got her appointment because her husband is an employee of the Board Chairman. The current Head of IT also got his appointment because he is a school mate of the Acting Commissioner-General.
The issues of promotion and postings are very sensitive in organizations. Promotions and postings may motivate or demotivate personnel. That arbitrary and dictatorial act of the Board Chairman of suspending promotions has impacted negatively on the morale of GRA personnel. Some officers who were due for promotion in the last quarter of 2019 have retired in the first quarter of 2020 without getting the opportunity (unlawfully denied them by a power-drunk Board Chairman) to go through the process even though their names had been published and circulated in all GRA offices.
The chairman of the Board could not be bothered by the legal tussles between the staff of GRA and the Authority in the recent past. Some personnel of GRA had taken legal action to halt what they considered to be unfair promotions between 2012 and 2016. Attempts were made to correct the injustices that some personnel suffered. Two promotion exercises per annum were conducted to reduce the backlog of qualified personnel in 2018. That strategy was to be repeated in 2019. The first exercise had been conducted successfully during the first half of 2019 and the second one was unlawfully blocked by the autocratic Board Chairman without any sensible justification.
It was in those circumstances that the Union and staff expected leadership from the Acting Commissioner General but they were woefully disappointed by his inertia, inaction, and cowardice in the face of a bully who proudly says that he is a “mad” person (to wit, that is why they say that I am a mad person (m’ abo dam)}
The disappointment of GRA Organised Labour in the Acting Commissioner General is reflected in the letter of 14th April 2020 where they wrote: “Our Board Chairman who seems to double as the Commissioner-General must abide by the CBA by approving the payment of 15% bonus to staff else, we cannot guarantee the sustenance of Industrial harmony within the Authority henceforth”.
Organised Labour and the majority of GRA employees feel convinced that it is the Board Chairman (not the entire Board) who is in charge as Commissioner-General and not his brother-in-law.
Some employees of GRA, who are aware of the numerous moves being made by the Acting Commissioner-General to get Very Important Persons/Personalities to lobby for him to be confirmed as Commissioner-General, feel strongly that the man does not deserve to be given even a formal appointment in Acting capacity let alone being confirmed as such.
From our impeccable sources, the Acting Commissioner General is using his wife’s tribe as an “Akyem” woman to get all the big shots in the Akyem land, including the Osagyefo himself, to lobby for him. As if that were not enough he is lobbying Former Presidents and key personalities in the NPP fraternity to get his heart’s desire, the position of Commissioner General before it is too late.
Our sources, have it that the Board Chairman‘s brother-in-law went to the Jubilee House in April 2020 to see “Big shots” for his letter appointing him as Commissioner-General. Our Sources intimated that the powers there told him there was no such letter for him.
It was a similar strategy that Mr Fred Anson adopted in early 2019 and in June 2019. Our sources have it that Mr Anson kept visiting the Ministry of Finance and the Jubilee House lobbying and seeing Very Important Persons (VIPs) with a view to getting, an appointment letter as the Commissioner-General; of GRA. But that never happened.
Similarly, most of the employees of GRA do not want the Acting Commissioner-General to be confirmed as such. Some of them referred to an incident that happened in Kumasi early this year during the retreat of Management of GRA. Mr Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah in his presentation to the gathering said that an in-law of his went to one of the offices of GRA to apply for a Tax Identification Number (TIN). After completing the necessary forms for the registration, the in-law of the Acting Commissioner General was asked to report in two weeks for it. The in-law of Mr Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah was not happy with the fact that he had to wait for two weeks. So she quickly reported the matter to her in-law. The powerful in law (Acting CG), called a Manager in another GRA office and hurriedly a TIN was obtained for her.
The Acting Commissioner General cited that example to show that his in-law had been given poor customer service which should be eschewed by all. Just while the Acting Commissioner General was speaking, the Board Chairman collected the microphone and announced to the surprise of the audience that he wanted the name of that officer and that he was going to dismiss that officer on his return to Accra. That erratic conduct of the Board Chairman was received with murmurings from the audience in obvious disapproval. The officer had explained to the in-law of the “two musketeers” that owing to the challenges of the system, he gave them two weeks to ensure that by all means, the TIN would be ready after the two weeks. Thus, it was a bit of precautionary advice given to the in-law of the two most powerful persons in GRA today.
Most of the employees of GRA who were in the hall at the Golden Tulip Hotel were disappointed that Mr Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah nodded his head in approval of what the Board Chairman had said. According to the employees of GRA, that was a clear case of abuse of power. They felt that the Acting Commissioner General should have either asked the Board Chairman to withdraw that threat or explained that he would investigate the matter so that appropriate action could be taken.
The employees feel strongly that the Acting Commissioner General is not and can never be a man of his own as long as the Board Chairman, the de facto Commissioner-General is around. They conclude that the Acting Commissioner is not capable of handling the affairs of GRA because he is incompetent, a pretender, and a hypocrite.