Investigation exposes SML Ghana’s dubious claims and questionable government contract

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Investigation exposes SML Ghana's dubious claims and questionable government contract: Ghana News

In a damning revelation, an investigative report by has exposed Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited (SML) for making false and unsubstantiated claims about its operations, casting doubt on its contract with the Ghanaian government.

The company, under scrutiny for a questionable deal with the and the (GRA), allegedly received monthly payments of up to GH₵24 million.

The investigation, conducted by Evans Aziamor-Mensah, Adwoa Adobea-Owusu, and Awuni, revealed that SML, in collaboration with certain media outlets, propagated inaccurate claims that formed the basis for its lucrative government contract.

Officials from the GRA reportedly confronted SML about the falsity of its assertions regarding savings in the downstream petroleum sector, raising questions about the government's awareness of the company's dubious claims.

The 2019 contract between the Government of Ghana and SML, signed during the tenure of former Technical Advisor to the Commissioner General of the GRA, Christian Tetteh Sottie, has drawn criticism. Sottie, who is also the Managing Director of SML, previously served as Ghana's Controller and Accountant-General.

Despite SML's assertion that it provided “revenue assurance” services to the GRA in the downstream petroleum sector, the investigation uncovered that the company had no prior experience in the services it claimed to excel in. Procurement expert Kobina Ata-Bedu questioned the contract, suggesting a possible breach of Ghana's procurement laws.

's extensive investigation revealed that SML's claims of checking fuel product diversion, dilution, and non-compliance in the petroleum industry were false.

The National Command Centre of the (NPA) reportedly employs a comprehensive system, including the Enterprise Relational Database Management System (ERDMS), which has effectively curtailed anomalies in the sector.

SML's purported role in revenue increment has also been debunked, with the GRA attributing sectoral revenue growth to increased volumes of petroleum products and changes in tax rates, not SML's interventions.

Moreover, SML claimed to have saved Ghana over GH₵3 billion, a figure disputed by the investigation. The Minister of Finance, , was reported to have cited these supposed savings during the commissioning of SML's operations in 2020.

SML later admitted to falsely claiming the GH₵3 billion figure and deleted the information from its website.

Efforts to obtain information about SML's contract details and payments from the GRA and the have been met with resistance, with both entities allegedly failing to respond to requests for transparency.

As scrutiny intensifies, calls for the cancellation of SML's contract are growing. Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (), described the contract as a duplication of roles already performed by state agencies and third-party companies in the sector, suggesting it serves no purpose and should be terminated.

Christian Tetteh Sottie, Managing Director of SML, failed to provide a convincing rationale for the government's engagement with the company.

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