The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has insisted that businessman, Mr Ibrahim Mahama closed his account after issuing cheques to pay for duties on equipment and vehicles he imported through the Tema Port in 2015.
Contrary to comments by spokespersons and associates of Mr Mahama as well as leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the accounts were only dormant, Mr Robert Mensah, an Assistant Commissioner at the GRA in charge of Communications has insisted that, the GRA’s information from the banks indicated that the accounts had been closed.
In a radio interview on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Mensah said the cheques, 24 in total [ 12 for MBG and 12 for Hollman Brothers] were for monthly instalments [January 2016 to December 2016].
“When the January cheque was presented we found out that the accounts were closed,” Mr Mensah said and added that from February to December they (GRA) did not present the other cheques.
Asked to explain whether the banks told GRA the accounts were dormant or had been closed, Mr Mensah said it was closed.
The Ningo-Prampram Member of Parliament (MP), Sam Nartey George, private legal practitioner Abraham Amaliba and one Rafiq Rufai, speaking as associates of Mr Ibrahim Mahama in separate media interviews insisted that Mr Mahama did not issue dud cheques, rather they said the account was only dormant.
Mr Amaliba for instance in an interview on Class FM said the GRA went ahead to draw cheques from the account despite an earlier warning to hold on with the withdrawals until certain payments had been made into it by the government.
“Who asked GRA nonetheless to present those cheques for the creation of that offence as issuing dud cheques because when you issue a cheque, you either tell the person he should go and cash it or you give a counter-order that: ‘Don’t go until you crosscheck with me,’” Amaliba said.
Rufai on his part told the Daily Guide newspaper that, GRA was not supposed to present the cheques to the bank at the time they did.
“Who submitted the cheques… we told them to wait till a certain period,” he said.
Mr George on his part said the cheques may have been dishonoured because of a hitch but the accounts were not closed as being claimed by the GRA, adding that “not all cheques issued bounced”.
The businessman, Mr Ibrahim Mahama is a brother of former President John Dramani Mahama. He owns a number of businesses including Engineers & Planners, a popular construction company, MBG Limited and Holman Brothers.
Through MBG Limited and Holman Brothers, he imported heavy duty construction equipment and vehicles into Ghana in 2015 and entered into an agreement with the GRA to spread payment of the import duty over some months.
Later, the Assin Central Member of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Agyapong on separate media platforms alleged that Mr Mahama had issued issued 44 dud cheques to the GRA in connection with the payment of the duties and the GRA had been quiet about it.
Mr Agyapong reportedly tipped off the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), culminating in an invitation of Mr Mahama last week.
Following that a two-week ultimatum has been given to Mr Mahama to pay some Gh¢12.7million owed by the two companies. The amount includes interest and penalty.
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