There are clear signs of disorder within the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) because of the continuous stay in office of Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo, who is supposed to be on his terminal leave prior to retirement this year.
Structures within the Customs Division of the GRA are being disrespected by Mr. Mate-Kodjo as he does things on his own without following laid-down procedures.
Mr. Mate-Kodjo, whose locus in the scheme of affairs at the GRA is hazy, has allegedly allocated powers to himself to form a taskforce at the blindside of the Commissioners of the GRA.
There are murmurings that some of the members of the taskforce for compliance are not even staff of the GRA.
Mr. Mate-Kodjo, who is/was an Acting Commissioner of the Customs Division, should have proceeded on his terminal leave on June 16, 2020 as he will be hitting 60 years on September 23, 2020.
However, he is enjoying a kind of protection from the Professor Stephen Adai-led board and the Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah-led management, and still remains in office, creating huge furore among the Senior Staff of the GRA.
In what could be described as selective amnesia, Mr. Boakye Agyemang, Third-In-Command of the same Customs Division of the GRA, was asked to commence his terminal leave prior to his retirement.
He started his terminal leave in May, 2020 and will be hitting his retirement age this September, just like Mr. Mate-Kodjo.
Sources within the GRA Staff Union say that there would be huge crisis within the Customs Division soon, as the president of the nation, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been furnished with names of two officers for the Customs Division to be considered as Deputy Commissioners.
The two officers, Hannah Acquah-Sampson, in charge of Port Clearance Audit, and Seidu Iddrisu Idisa, in charge of Good Governance and Ethics, have duly been interviewed by the Public Service Commission to move up the GRA ladder as Deputy Commissioner. The two are currently acting.
With Mr. Mate-Kodjo lurking around, there will be huge problems should the President confirm the upward move of the two.
The Customs Division of the GRA at all material times have two Deputy Commissioners.
There are reports that the GRA Staff Union is upset with the formation of the taskforce by Mr. Mate-Kodjo and more upset with the fact that certain persons who are not staff of the GRA have been included in the taskforce.
The union, in the past, had served notice of the anger that the selective decision by the board and management to protect Mr. Mate-Kodjo from embarking on his terminal leave prior to his retirement would create within the nation’s revenue outfit.
Surprisingly, the notice served by the union has been ignored by the board and management.
Mr. Mate-Kodjo’s name has popped up severally in various reports, including a high profile one sanctioned by the Presidency, in recent times, to thoroughly investigate his past dealings.
In the latest report, Mr. Mate-Kodjo was flagged red over his inconsistencies in the country’s search for one Single Window entity for the nation’s ports (Full Story Coming Soon).
Apart from that, there have been series of petitions against Mr. Mate-Kodjo with the latest one dated January 20, 2020.
In all the petitions, Mr. Mate-Kodjo was accused of engaging in activities that had adverse effects on the revenue collection activities of the GRA.
In 2013, there was a petition on the nefarious activities of Mr. Mate-Kodjo that was addressed to the Office of the President.
Described as very intelligent by his contemporaries, Mr. Mate-Kodjo was said to have engaged in fraudulent practices in the Ghana Customs Management Systems (GCMS).
In that petition, the petitioner claimed that he detected some suspicious deals by Mr. Mate-Kodjo and reversed them, resulting in very handsome returns in terms of revenue to the state.
According to the petitioner, Mr. Mate-Kodjo committed an alleged fraud on Customs Declaration number 42011419712 for a company.
In the FCVR for that declaration, the item, ‘’Buoyancy block’’ was classified under HS Code 7016900000, which attracted import duty rate of 20% and VAT of 12.5%. Mr. Mate-Kodjo, then as Chief Collector in charge of Compliance, allegedly hacked the FCVR menu in the GCMS and fraudulently changed the HS Code, for that item (in FCVR No. WFG 11006897) to read 8459100000 with all duty and tax rates of Zero (0%), after it had been determined that the said item was a candidate for HS Code 7016900000.
It was stated in the petition that the hacking and manipulation of the HS Code within the database of the Customs Management System alone resulted in a revenue loss in excess of GHC43, 841.00.
Again, in the petition, it was said that Mr. Mate-Kodjo, as then Chief Collector/Outdoor, was deeply implicated in the mis-description and attempt to clear a 40-footer container loaded of furniture (imported from South Africa), through the Takoradi Port with forged invoices.
Apart from that, the petitioner claimed that Mr. Mate-Kodjo was involved in a fraudulent clearance of frozen meat products from the Takoradi Port, without payment of correct and due duties and taxes, through the use of forged import documents.
The 2013 petition against Mr. Mate-Kodjo was fully investigated by a committee chaired by Mr. Frank Jones Abban and some of the companies mentioned in the petition were made to pay the right revenue to state, an indication that Mr. Mate-Kodjo did something wrong.
Low Class Damage Control
The under-fire Deputy Commissioner of the Customs Division, instead of doing the honourable thing by embarking on his terminal leave, decided to embark on a weak damage control to sway the minds of the public off the decision by the GRA board and management to keep him at post.
A story clearing him of wrongdoings in the investigations done on him in 2013 surfaced on the internet as part of his weak public relations game plan.
What is making the whole plan an exercise in futility is the fact that the committee never exonerated Mr. Mate-Kodjo in anyway. (Full Story Coming Soon).
Amazingly, Mr. Mate-Kodjo did not find it useful to place a rejoinder to The Inquisitor, but rather decided to cast aspersions against the newspaper that is insisting that the GRA should do the right thing.