GRA refutes claims of harassment by Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has dismissed recent claims by the member of Parliament for Assin Central constituency in the Central Region, Kennedy Agyapong, that the GRA is investigating two companies of his unfairly.

According to Kennedy Agyapong, the Ghana Revenue Authority has deliberately targeted two of his companies (a steel plant project and his existing cold store business) because he is out-spoken and has decided to contest for the flagbearership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

“[GRA] can never shut down my business because I’ll battle,” Kennedy Agyapong said in an interview on Kumasi based Sompa FM.

Because that steel plant alone will require 1000 workers, I will campaign for the youth. “And you are going there because Kwame Agyapong is loudmouthed, because he wants to contest so you will destroy my business,” Mr Agyapong is further quoted to have said.

GRA rebuttal

However, in a press statement issued under the hand of Assistant Commissioner in charge of Communications and Public Affairs, Florence Asante, the GRA says it “has sighted a recording of a media interview by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central constituency, Honourable Kennedy Agyapong circulating on social media in which he accused GRA officials of constant harassment through unwarranted audits of his companies”.

“GRA wishes to categorically refute the specific allegation of harassment at a factory under construction owned by the MP. We wish to clarify that as part of GRA’s mandate and in line with World Customs Organization’s (WCO’s) guidelines in ensuring adherence to best practices; such exercises are regularly conducted.

“The purpose of such audits, are to measure and improve compliance whiles fine tuning controls. The factory in question together with other companies were thus audited to check the value of goods imported and their intended use” the GRA statement dated 13 March 2023 read.

“We wish to disclose that in January and February 2023, about thirty (30) of such risk-based activities were carried out on a number of businesses. Furthermore, in the area of enforcement and compliance, GRA carries out invoice invigilation exercises to ascertain Value Added Tax (VAT) paid by VAT registered businesses.

“These exercises entail stationing staff on the premises of VAT registered businesses such as shops, restaurants and manufacturing sites to check the issuance of VAT invoices” the statement further noted.

Risk-based activities

Emphasizing further on the rational behind the risk-based activities of the GRA, the statement noted; “In September 2022, invigilation exercises were intensified nationwide in order to enforce the issuance of VAT invoices and to encourage persons who buy goods and patronize services to demand for VAT invoices.

“This exercise was very successful and GRA intends to scale up the invoice invigilation exercise from April 2023 as part of its revenue mobilization efforts.

“In carrying out all these enforcement and compliance activities, staff of GRA have been advised to remain professional and act at all times with integrity as required by the Authority’s Code of Ethics and Conduct” the press release read.

Professionalism assures

The management of GRA to this end, noted in their statement that “they wish to assure Honourable Kennedy Agyapong and all taxpayers of our readiness to receive complaints and feedback on our work as we partner to mobilise revenue for national development”.

The Authority called on Mr Kennedy Agyapong, all well-meaning Ghanaians and taxpayers to report any suspicious activities of their staff to them, assuring that their complaints will receive prompt attention.

“We also wish to state that GRA remains committed to carrying out its mandate of revenue mobilization with integrity, fairness and utmost professionalism” the statement read in conclusion.

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