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03.02.2004 Business & Finance

SFO Probes ¢400m VAT Evasion

By Graphic
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THE Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating FTH Intertech Ghana Limited, for the alleged non-payment of the Value Added Tax to the tune of about ¢400 million. The company is said to have won two major contracts in 2002, but failed to pay the 12.5 per cent of the Value Added Tax component to the VAT Service.

The first contract, which it won in April 2002, was for the supply of fireman’s boots and fire fighting foam totalling ¢1.5 billion to the Ghana National Fire Service. The GNFS pre-financed the transaction and within 120 days, the company supplied the items without paying the 12.5 per cent VAT component to the VAT Secretariat.

The reference numbers of the GNFS payment Vouchers are 1074625 and 1074627 of April, 2002 and FTH invoice numbers 2078 of May 29, 2001 and 00125 of April 24, 2002 with registration number 114V001322.In the same year, FTH Intertech received various amounts of money running into billions of cedis from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, for various orders, including the supply of safety boots.

The VAT component of these monies, which is about ¢200 million, was also not paid to the VAT Office.

A highly-placed source at the SFO told the Graphic that investigations into the case of GNFS had been completed.

It said during the investigations, the audit team of the SFO realised that the company declared only ¢544.4 million which attracted VAT of ¢58 million .

The source said the audit team had now moved on to the case of the GCAA, after which the due diligence of the law would be allowed to take its course. When the Graphic made efforts to reach the company, it was learnt that the Managing Director, Mr Helmut Alfons Muller, was out of the country, and the General Manager of the company, Mr Vincent Owusu, refused to comment on the matter.

” I will not say anything in connection with the matter, unless I had sought the approval of the Board of Directors,” he said.Mr Owusu, however, promised to get in touch with the Graphic as soon as the board gives him the go ahead to comment on the matter.

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