28 OMCs owe GHȼ226.9 million in taxes

The Auditor-General, Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, has cited 28 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for their failure to pay petroleum taxes on fuel lifted between July 2018 and December 2019.

The taxes which are owed by these 28 OMCs totalled GH¢226.94 million.

The AG, has, therefore, charged the Commissioner, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, to recover the amount from these OMCs without any further delay.

Mr Asiedu also noted that four other OMCs did not pay taxes on 59,713,090 litres of fuel products valued at GH¢5.45 million lifted at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) in 2018, and therefore charged the Commissioner of Customs to recover that amount as well.

In his 2020 report on ministries, departments and agencies, Mr Asiedu also pointed out that its review revealed that 17 OMCs failed to pay their rescheduled debt of GH¢69.10 million granted by the Commissioner-General, thereby defaulting between 30 and 360 days.

“We urge the Commissioner-General to ensure that all OMCs who are indebted to GRA Customs Division make full payment of all their outstanding debts without any further delay,” he stated.

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation

The Auditor-General, in his 2020 report on Public Boards and Corporations, also charged the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to recover debts amounting to US$279.01 million owed it by the government of Ghana, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Ghana National Gas Company and the Volta River Authority.

The AG said the Audit Service realised that there was no evidence of a repayment plan.

“We recommended to Management to intensify their efforts in collecting these overdue balances,” he stated.

Mr Asiedu said the inability to collect these amounts due from government or its agencies may affect the ability of the corporation to carry out its objectives, as funds needed may not be available.

Sanctions for management

The Auditor General also recommended that management of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation be sanctioned in accordance with section 92 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).

The management members whom the Auditor General wants sanctioned are the chief executive officer of the corporation, the head of finance and the head of procurement.

This is for breaching the procurement law in several circumstances between 2015 and 2018.

He noted that the management of the GNPC in contrast with Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution signed and awarded five international business contracts totalling US$34.16 million to five foreign suppliers or contractors using Single-Source method in four of those transactions and in one instance used the Restricted Tendering method without seeking the necessary parliamentary approvals.

Mr Asiedu further noted that contrary to Section 42(1b) of the Public Procurement Act, the GNPC used the request for quotation (RFQ) method in procurements of goods with contract values that exceeded the threshold for RFQ.

He said all officials who played a role in those transactions should, therefore, be sanctioned in accordance with the law.

Section 92 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), states that “a person who contravenes a provision of this Act commits an offence and where a  penalty is not provided for the offence,  that person is liable on summary conviction to a  fine not exceeding  2500  penalty units or a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to both the fine and the imprisonment.”.

Mr Asiedu also noted that in disregard for Clauses two and three of Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution as well as Section 33 (1) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584), its request to review some procurement-related records and documents were not met by management of GNPC.

He said the Audit Service had, therefore, advised the management to retrieve the document involved and forward them for audit review, failure for which sanctions should be invoked against the management in accordance with Section 98 of the PFM Act 2016 for financial indiscipline.

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