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  • Writer's pictureNana yaw Dynamic

Minerals Commission distances itself from controversial SML contract

The Minerals Commission says it "assumed no part in the award of the agreement" to Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited (SML), a branch-off of a timber company, to embrace income confirmation administrations in the gold production sector for the public authority.

The CEO of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi, expressed this because of a right to information (RTI) demand from Manasseh Azure Awuni, an investigative journalist and previous Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Estate who led the SML investigation.

Mr. Ayisi's reaction, which has been sighted by AG Media, likewise said the Minerals Commission has no report of misfortunes coming about because of the conscious or coincidental estimation, taking everything into account.

The SML contract, which was granted to the company by the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), qualifies the company for more than $100 million each and every year however long the agreement might last.

The contract is for five years and can be renewed for an additional five years, as stated by the GRA.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo suspended the agreement fourteen days prior and delegated a worldwide review and bookkeeping firm, KPMG, to review the agreement and present a report in about fourteen days.

This was after parliament had passed a goal to research the agreement.

The President's mandate followed an examination by The News media, which uncovered that SML had made bogus cases about a previous agreement it had been granted by the finance ministry and GRA to embrace income affirmation in the downstream oil area.

For that initial contract, the business receives a monthly payment of up to GHS24 million.

Ghana had been claimed to have saved more than GHS3 billion through SML's operations. At the point when The News media defied the administration of the organization with income figures from the area, which was not exactly the sum SML professed to have saved inside a similar period, SML denied truly guaranteeing saving that sum.

Christian Tetteh Sottie, SML's managing director, stated that the media reported the figure incorrectly.

Whenever it was called attention to him that a similar case was on the site of SML even as the meeting was occurring, he said he didn't "realize about any site matter."

At the point when the examination was distributed, the GRA gave an assertion and demanded that SML's case of saving Ghana GHS3 billion was valid, despite the fact that the GRA neglected to show how that cash would have been lost yet for SML's intercession.

Regardless of the confirmation by GRA authorities in the analytical narrative that the authority doesn't utilize the figures from SML's estimation to compute taxe and income, GRA guaranteed SML's activity had brought about a critical expansion in volumes.

The Africa Community for Energy Strategy and IMANI Africa, in any case, countered the GRA's case of huge income increase, it is bogus to say the case.

The two common society associations said GRA's information accessible on the Service of Money's site for legal detailing under the Energy Area Recuperation Act (ESLA) and one more legal information on the site of the Public Petrol Authority (NPA)website didn't uphold the GRA's case.

According to GRA's data, refined petroleum product consumption increased by 5% in the 2019/2020 year that SML began operations, compared to the previous year (19.38 million liters). In a similar period, the NPA reports a 7% development (24.71 million liters) in item utilization. In the ensuing year (2020/2021), both GRA and NPA information adjust, showing a 11% and 10% development in item utilization, separately," the assertion by the CSOs demonstrated.

They added: " The real development between 2018/2019 and 2020/2021 was around 62.95 million from NPA information and 60.15 million from the GRA Information. According to NPA and GRA, the country's total consumption of refined products decreased by 5% and 7%, respectively, in 2021 and 2022.

SML had likewise expressed on site its tasks had halted "under-detailing, redirection and weakening of fuel items and general rebelliousness in the petrol business area."

Whenever The News media group highlighted the company that the administrations that shut down those inconsistencies were performed by a few different company shrunk by the NPA, the administration of SML conceded the case was bogus and erased it from the company's site that very day.

These irregularities in any case, the Service of Money, in June 2023, taught the GRA to grow the extent of SML Ghana's work.

A Service of Money letter said the "Fair Clergyman [Ken Ofori-Atta] has verified that there is the need to screen the creation and shipment of oil and gold out of the country.

"To this end, he will get a kick out of the chance to extend the Income Confirmation work being performed by SML to incorporate upstream oil penetrating by the creation organizations and the gold mining organizations," the letter, dated June 22, 2023, said.

A few individuals from parliament, common society gatherings and hostile to defilement campaigners have scrutinized the reason for the honor of the agreements to SML. Like the downstream area, the upstream and gold mining areas previously had frameworks set up to safeguard government's advantage.

The Minerals Commission, which was set up by a Demonstration of Parliament as "the Public authority organization with the essential obligation of creating and planning mineral area arrangements and checking their execution" says it was not associated with the agreement with SML to screen gold creation in the country.

The Minerals Commission said it was not engaged with the honor of the agreement and doesn't have reports of income misfortunes in the gold mining area.

"The Commission attempts normal or exceptional reviews now and again according to its command to manage such issues and we really do team up with other Government or public foundations to do that," the President included the RTI reaction.

The Minerals Commission's response follows a similar one from Ghana's Petroleum Commission, which oversees the upstream petroleum sector.

The Petrol Commission said in a reaction to a previous RTI demand that it had hardly any familiarity with the agreement granted to SML to screen the development of oil in the upstream oil area.

Like the Minerals Commission, the Oil Commission additionally demonstrated that it had no data or report on any misfortunes in the area, the explanation SML was contracted to screen.

The Service of Money, which declined to give a duplicate of the agreement to Manasseh, said in a reaction to the RTI demand that it didn't have provides details regarding income misfortunes from organizations in the areas SML was contracted to screen.

"We don't have direct data on implied reports from organizations in the oil and mining areas about misfortunes in the downstream, upstream and mining areas," the service said.


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