GRA probes allegation of tax evasion by companies

GRA probes allegation Tax Evasion GRA probes allegation Tax Evasion

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has said investigations are on-going into allegation of tax evasion and money laundering by some companies.

The GRA said when the investigations are done, duties, other taxes, interests and penalties will be recovered and appropriate sanctions will be applied to all defaulting individuals and companies.

This comes after the GRA said in a statement on Thursday April 8 that its attention "has been drawn to a press conference by the Movement for Truth and Accountability and subsequent publications by various media outlets alleging that about 1,200 companies involved in tax evasion, under invoicing and money laundering have not been sanctioned.

"The publications further allege that GRA, together with the other Government agencies have failed to act swiftly to protect government revenue."

Below is the full statement…

RE- ALLEGATIONS OF TAX EVASION & MONEY LAUNDERING BY MOVEMENT FOR TRUTH & ACCOUNTABILITY

The attention of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been drawn to a press conference by the Movement for Truth and Accountability and subsequent publications by various media outlets alleging that about 1,200 companies involved in tax evasion, under invoicing and money laundering have not been sanctioned. The publications further allege that GRA, together with the other Government agencies have failed to act swiftly to protect government revenue.

The GRA wishes to react as follows:

In 2020, it came to the attention of the Authority that multiple Import Declaration Forms (IDFs) issued to importers have been wrongly used for other purposes. IDFs are issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and indicate the type, quantity and cost of goods to aid commercial banks to transfer funds and is a regulatory requirement for reconciliation with Customs Documents.

A multi-agency team was formed in the third quarter of 2020 with members drawn from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, GRA, Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) & the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to carry out investigations into the issue.

The team's initial analysis of data on record from the Commercial Banks against Customs data for the calendar year 2019 uncovered approximately 10,000 unreconciled documents from over 2,000 companies with funds transferred in the region of $1.8bn.

Given the volume of transactions involved, several batches of importers were questioned. The initial findings were as follows:

▪ IDFs used to clear the goods were different from IDFs used to obtain foreign exchange.

▪ Quantity of goods imported was less than the values on the IDFs issued (under invoicing)

▪ Single transfer of funds for multiple imports and multiple recipients.

▪ Transfers on behalf of Importers by Forex/Informal Financial Sector Operators

▪ Transfers of funds by bank staff for clients who are not importers.

As a result of the discovery of these infractions, the team has among other things, accordingly developed a procedure for processing all the unreconciled IDFs to prevent the reoccurrence of these infractions.

The GRA assures taxpayers and the general public that investigations are on-going and when completed duties, other taxes, interests and penalties will be recovered and appropriate sanctions will be applied to all defaulting individuals and companies.

Source: Laud Nartey