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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Special Prosecutor probes GH¢73m GRA’s new office deal

Kissi Agyabeng

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has opened preliminary investigation into the construction of head office building of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at Kanda, Accra.

The investigation follows a petition filed by the Movement for Truth and Accountability, a pressure group in Accra for the OSP to investigate alleged corrupt practice being undertaken by some top officials of the GRA.

In a letter signed by Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor, acknowledging receipt of the group’s complaint in respect of the GRA Head Office project sighted by DGN Online, stated that “The OSP will commence investigation into the matter if I determine the complaint to be within the mandate of the Office. You may be invited to further assist the Office in the investigation.”

The anti-corruption pressure group in a press conference held recently believes that GRA is channeling some of the money they are able to mobilise into ventures that do not in any way profit the nation.

According to the Movement, GRA top management contracted Devtraco Company to put up 14-storey HQ for GRA at the Airport Residential Area and later moved it to Kanda and scaled it to 7-storey near Kanda Post Office.

It mentioned that close to GHȼ74 million was paid in 2020 as mobilization fee whilst there was no site handing-over documents from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (owners of the land ) to GRA.

“This site we are talking about is close to the seat of government. The Board and top management knew that the 7-storey will not be permitted by the National Security to be put up in that area. This is because this 7-storey will be taller than the building for the presidency but they went ahead and made payments to the consultants and the contractor for the 7-storey building.”

“We later found out the 7-storey has been reduced to 4-storey, which will also attract redesigning and additional consultancy fee. Why? We want to find out what happened to the GHȼ74million that was meant for the 7-storey building.

“On the 10th September, 2021, GBC Union protested the land takeover by GRA at a press conference. During the said press conference, GBC Union made it clear that, they would not accept the land takeover. Their question was that, why should GRA not put up their new headquarters on GRA plot near the Foreign Affairs Ministry at Airport Residential Area. Why should they put up the building on GBC land?
“Our findings have revealed that part of this said land of GRA has been given to an Estate Developer by GRA.”

The Movement wants GRA to clarify whether the land was the land bought by this said Estate Developer or it was given to him for free, furtherance to that “Another interesting development we have uncovered is that a land at Cantonments near Chinese Embassy owned by GRA has also been given to a government appointee. Why? Is a Government land being shared to Individuals now?”

The Ghana Revenue Authority recently said it will save GH¢4 million in annual rent for head office staff if the new head office project is completed.

The project, which was estimated to cost GH¢491 million, was due for completion within two years.

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