Parliament halts payments to SML 

Story: News Desk 

Parliament has asked the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend all payments related to the contract on revenue assurance with SML until investigation into the deal is conducted by the Finance Committee of the House.

According to a Finance Committee report which has been adopted by the House, GRA should cease all payments to the company from 1st January 2024.

Addressing journalists, Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson urged the Finance Committee to do a thorough job and hold its investigations in public and not behind closed doors.

He said, “again the resolution of Parliament is that the Ghana Revenue Authority must be aware that the contract that the Ministry of Finance signed with them to SML constitutes a multiyear commitment, and Section 33 of the Financial Management Act is clear on the matter that all multiyear commitment must be presented to parliament for consideration and approval.

“So the contract in its current shape is not valid and must come to parliament for approval.

“It is also important to note that the same Finance Committee working with Parliament has resolved that parliament is going to initiate a probe into the SML. I urge the committee of finance to conduct this probe diligently and in a manner that will show transparency, so it shouldn’t be held in secret. We should open it to public so that the public will hear what is going to happen, what the committee will be doing,” he said.

He expressed confidence in the Finance Committee’s ability to do a yeoman’s job.

“I’m very confident in the committee of finance particularly the NDC side of the committee, you know Jinapor is here and he will do what is right, the honourable Adongo working with the deputy ranking  and members of the finance committee, I am part of the committee and we’ll do what is right,” he said.

The Finance Ministry, headed by Ken Ofori-Atta, awarded SML an additional contract valued at up to ¢24 million per month.

Under the terms of the contract, SML is tasked with monitoring and reporting fuel product diversion and dilution, as well as overall noncompliance in the petroleum industry.

This responsibility was previously held by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

An investigative report by the Fourth Estate has raised serious questions about the contract.

Meanwhile, the Special Prosecutor has been petitioned to probe the Finance Ministry, The Ghana Revenue Authority and Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited over the questionable $1 billion contract for revenue assurance in the petroleum downstream, upstream, and gold mining sectors.

 

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