The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has recovered GHS30 million out of GHS69 million taxes owed the state by 17 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).
Reverend Dr Ammisshaddai Owusu-Amoah, the Commissioner General, GRA, who disclosed this to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Tuesday, said GHS35 million of the total debt was still outstanding.
He said of the 17 OMCs, eight had paid their debts in full and the Authority had instituted criminal prosecution against the rest of the defaulting OMCs while others were also being investigated for prosecution in court.
Rev Dr Owusu-Amoah was at the PAC’s sitting in Accra to respond to issues raised in the 2020 Auditor-General’s report on Public Accounts of Ghana: Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Section 71 of the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) provides that a person who fails to pay tax by the date on which the tax is payable is liable to pay interest for each month or part of the month for which any part of the tax is outstanding.
Additionally, Section 80 of Act 915 mandates the Commissioner General to recover any unpaid tax by pursuing the matter in court.
The Report indicated that contrary to the provisions of the law, the review by the Auditors revealed that 17 OMCs failed to pay GH¢69,106,362.00 according to the schedule granted by the Commissioner General, thereby defaulting between 30 and 360 days.
It said in view of the above, the Commissioner-General’s 2018 Order terminated all rescheduled payment effective 14 November 2019, and requested the affected OMCs to make immediate payment.
That was, however, not adhered to, hence the auditors urged the Commissioner General to ensure that OMCs indebted to GRA Customs Division made full payment of outstanding debts without further delay.
Rev Dr Owusu-Amoah said as at the time of reporting the Authority had recovered GHS30 from those 17 OMCs.
Some reconciliation with the auditors revealed that about GHS2.9 million was an overstatement for the debt of Venus Oil, which also reduced the total outstanding.
“The current total outstanding is GHS35 million and eight OMCs have paid their debts in full,” he stated.
Touching on the likelihood of GRA recovering those debts, Rev Dr Owusu-Amoah said it was highly likely because of the criminal prosecution insituted against the defaulting OMCs and a special court had been set up for such defaulters.
He said defaulters willing to settle the debts would be given a time frame to do so but if they fail then they would go through criminal prosecution.
Asked about the tax debts of GHS368,128.00 owed by Semenhyia, AP Oil and Excel Oil, the Commissioner General said the trio had paid their debts in full.