An anti-corruption group, Movement for Truth and Accountability, has sued four private companies – Voltic Ghana Limited, Olam Ghana Limited, Ayax Copany Limited, and Three Hills Limited – for alleged money laundering and other financial breaches.
The Truth claims that these companies were involved in financial breaches totaling over US$26.9 million.
According to the writ of summons, dated December 10, 2021, the defendants, during the year 2019, were involved in various economic crimes, including money laundering, under-invoicing, and tax evasion, against the State of Ghana.
Meanwhile, it said the GRA, which has the mandate under the law to hold and prevent the companies over-reaching the economic interests of the country, allegedly failed or refused, or neglected to exercise that power to ensure the four enterprises’ compliance with the tax and trade statutes.
The writ was, therefore, seeking that the GRA be ordered to declare and publish the Import Declaration Forms (IDFs) of the above-mentioned companies for the year in contention. The suit was further seeking the companies to be made to refund the monies, as well as being given the necessary punishments.
Voltic Ghana Limited
Voltic Ghana Limited was accused of shortchanging the country in the amount of US$3,635,789.80 through the listed offences. The plaintiff claimed that it intercepted documents from the GRA that confirm that Voltic, in 2019, transferred an amount of US$9,750,659.00 to import goods, but only accounted for US$5,914,869.92, leaving the balance of US$3,835,789.00 unexplained.
It further stated that, in the same year, the mineral water producing company imported goods worth separate values of £6,534.48, €3,832,962,75, and 6,351,013.42 Rand into Ghana without any supporting Import Declaration Forms (IDFs).
The writ was urging the court to make an order for the company to pay the differential of all the under-invoicing transactions to the state with the relevant penalties slapped against it. Plaintiff is praying the court to instruct GRA to declare and publish the IDFs issued to the company for import in the year in question, but were wrongly used for unjust purposes.
Olam Ghana Limited
Similarly, it alleged that Olam Ghana, in the same year of 2019, engaged in economic crimes against the state, which resulted in huge financial and revenue losses running into US$8,161, 904.00.
The Plaintiff accuses the company of declaring US$42,100,000.00 as monies transferred outside the country purposely for the importation of goods, but only accounted for US$33,938,591.00, while the whereabouts of the difference of US$ US$8,161,904.00 remained a puzzle.
The writ indicated that Olam was subject to the laws of Ghana in all commercial activities, especially with regard to its tax obligations and duty to comply with the anti-money laundry laws of Ghana. As a result, the plaintiff is seeking that the court compels Olam to refund the unlawfully transferred amount back to the state with the necessary penalties.
Three Hills Limited
On Three Hills, the plaintiff further indicated credible data from the GRA’s data speaks to the fact that in the same 2019, the company was allegedly involved in money laundering, under-invoicing, and evasion of tax amounting to approximately US$7,214,868.42.
The Plaintiff pointed out that the company declared to the state that it was importing goods worth US$16,178,875.00, but only utilised US$8,964,006.58, leaving US$7,214,868.42 unaccounted for.
It indicated that the court must order Three Hills to respect its tax obligations, while the GRA is compelled to honor its supervisory and monitory role in the tax regime of the country.
Ayax Company Limited
According to the plaintiff, which claims to be relying on credible information from the GRA database, Ayax Company allegedly committed economic crimes against the state in an amount running to US$7,689,717.00.
It said: “… officially available data confirms that in the year 2019 the 1st Defendant declared US$15, 866, 720.00 transferred outside the country ostensibly for the importation of goods but accounted for only US$8, 177,003. 00. This leaves a differential figure of US$7,689,717.00 to be accounted for.”
The suit added that Ayax “is subject to the laws of Ghana in all its commercial activities, especially with regard to its tax obligations and duty to comply with the anti-money laundering laws of Ghana.”