The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has failed the integrity test, as the Board and Management could not simply be impartial on issues that border on the retirement of two senior officials of the Customs Division of the authority.
The Professor Stephen Adei-led board and the Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah-led management are protecting Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo, Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Port Operations, who is due for retirement and must be on his terminal leave, which should have started on June 16, 2020.
Mr. Mate-Kodjo, who has been described in a security report gleaned by The Inquisitor as HIGH RISK TO GHANA’S REVENUE will be hitting 60 years on September 23, 2020.
The management and board of the GRA have not been able to ask Mate-Kodjo to proceed on his terminal leave, creating huge controversies within the corridors of the GRA.
The Senior Staff Union of the GRA is prevailing on the management to ask Mr. Mate-Kodjo to proceed on his terminal leave prior to retirement in September 2020.
In what the union says it is a case of 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 Mate-Kodjo.
The Inquisitor’s flawless sources have it that the leadership of the GRA Staff Union met with the Acting GRA Commissioner, Mr. Owusu-Amoah, sometime last week over issues relating to Mr. Mate-Kodjo’s continuous stay in office.
The union, The Inquisitor gathered, served notice to the GRA boss that the selective decision by the board to shield scandal-prone Mr. Mate-Kodjo could spark huge furore at the GRA.
The Inquisitor was told that the Acting GRA could not convince the union leaders on why Mr. Mate-Kodjo should stay, an indication that there are bigger forces protecting Mr. Mate-Kodjo’s interest.
Why Mate-Kodjo Is High Risk To Ghana’s Revenue
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 Mate-Kodjo that was addressed to the Office of the President.
Mate-Kodjo has been described by certain top members of the GRA as being a high risk to revenue collection.
Described as very intelligent by his contemporaries, 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 Mate-Kodjo and reversed them, resulting in very handsome returns in terms of revenue to the state.
According to the petitioner, 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 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 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.