MPs Impressed With SML’s Data Centre

Samuel Atta-Akyea


Samuel Atta-Akyea, Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, has expressed admiration for Strategic Mobilisation Limited’s (SML) world-class data operation room located in Tema during an investigation into a contract awarded by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to SML through the Finance Ministry.

Mr. Atta-Akyea commended the setup and work being done by SML, stating that the difference between the previous state and the present state of the company was like “day and night.”

During a familiarisation tour of SML’s facility in Tema, the Committee Chairman emphasised the importance of not prejudicing ongoing investigations commissioned by the President.

Mr. Atta-Akyea deferred to the ongoing investigation being conducted by consulting firm KPMG, regarding SML’s financial aspects.

He stated that they would wait for the findings of the investigation before commenting on any potential financial issues.

Regarding their experience touring SML’s data centre, the chairman mentioned that it appeared SML was utilising advanced technology to expose significant under-declarations. He added that the committee would analyze the numbers and provide an informed response to the public.

Mr. Atta-Akyea emphasised the need to wait for the official findings before drawing conclusions, and highlighted the importance of not delving into financial matters until KPMG’s ongoing analysis is complete.

Addressing questions about the merits of SML’s job based on public information, he stressed the committee’s decision to refrain from commenting on financial matters until Jubilee House releases their findings.

Mr. Atta-Akyea expressed confidence in SML’s ability to uncover discrepancies in revenue declarations with their technology and operations. The committee would review the data presented by SML and provide feedback following the President’s response to KPMG’s report.

He assured the nation that SML’s efforts had positively impacted revenue assurance for the country. Atta-Akyea cautioned against premature conclusions, emphasising the importance of factual understanding before making judgments. He criticised baseless speculations and urged caution against spreading propaganda without factual information.

Mr. Atta-Akyea assured the nation that SML’s technology guarantees revenue for the country. He noted the involvement of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and the need for them to speak on the matter based on SML’s performance.

The committee members who visited SML’s office included representatives from both the Majority and Minority sides, showcasing bipartisan engagement in understanding the company’s operations.

As the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament continues to assess SML’s activities, Atta-Akyea emphasised the need for thorough scrutiny and reliance on verified information to ensure transparency and accountability in evaluating the effectiveness of SML’s initiatives.

Yaa Serwaa Sarpong, PhD, Director of support service at SML, expressed excitement about hosting the Members of Parliament and showcasing the company’s contributions to the growth of Ghana.

Sarpong mentioned SML’s remarkable impact in the downstream petroleum industry, highlighting the doubling of the average taxable volume to GH₵12 billion through their controls and revenue assurance measures.

Further updates on the investigation are expected to be released by the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament in due course.

The Finance Ministry, headed by Ken Ofori-Atta, awarded SML which management said it was based on performance and commission basis.

Under the terms of the contract, SML is tasked with monitoring and reporting fuel product diversion and dilution, as well as overall noncompliance in the petroleum industry.

This responsibility was previously held by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

An investigative report by the Fourth Estate has raised questions about the contract.

Meanwhile, the Special Prosecutor has been petitioned to probe the Finance Ministry, the Ghana Revenue Authority and Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited over the questionable $1 billion contract for revenue assurance in the petroleum downstream, upstream, and gold mining sectors.

This agreement sparked some controversy in Parliament, with Minority members opposing the agreement.

As a result, the Finance Committee of Parliament had recommended a suspension of all payments under the government’s contract with SML from next year, pending a probe into the contract by Parliament.

This was made known during a debate on the budget approval for other government obligations for the year 2024.

Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson speaking to journalists on the deal said, “As part of the report, the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana has resolved that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) must immediately stop all payments to SML beginning January 1, 2024.”

In responding to the concern, President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, appointed KPMG, the reputable Audit, Tax and Advisory Services firm, to conduct an immediate audit investigating the GRA and SML, a contract rationale, legality, alignment with needs, contracting methodology, compliance and the delivered benefit to the GRA.

By Vincent Kubi