Auditor-General to surcharge some officials of GRA over unlawful tax exemptions

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo
Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo

The Auditor-General is set to investigate and surcharge some officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority for giving out tax exemptions without parliamentary approval. 

Daniel Domelevo made this known at a symposium for business reporters in Accra.

Page 36 of the Auditor General's report on the Public Account of Ministries, Departments, and other agencies for the 2018 financial year revealed some irregularities in the tax waiver system of the GRA. 

According to the report, the GRA has granted tax exemptions of GH¢5,562,175 to some free zone companies without parliamentary approval which is contrary to the constitution of Ghana.

"Article 174 of the 1992 Constitution requires that no taxation shall be imposed other than by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament. Where an Act enacted in accordance with Clause (1) of Article 174, confers power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax imposed by that Act, the exercise of the power of waiver or variation, in favour of any person or authority, shall be subject to the prior approval of Parliament by resolution.

We noted during our review that, the system for tax waiver was fraught with some irregularities. Our examination of records at GRA showed that some companies without any Parliamentary approval were exempted from the payment of duties and taxes."

The Auditor-General said his office may surcharge the GRA after further investigations.

"If you look at Article 1 (7)(4) of the constitution, it says that you can't impose tax or remove tax unless you've sent it to parliament and it continue to say that even if you want exempt somebody from tax you must receive approval from parliament and in fact it even continue to say even if the law allows you to do that exemption you must still bring it to parliament and get approval so I don't think there can be any explanation apart from the fact that they have........the powers of parliament unlawfully and which we are going to interrogate it if possible disallow and surcharge the officers who granted the tax exemption as a result of which the money did not come to us."