EOCO Chases Businessmen
The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) is on the heels of three top businessmen for questioning over the issuance of alleged dud cheques.
The three men – all reportedly at large – are said to have links with companies owned by Ibrahim Mahama, younger brother of former President John Mahama, who was recently pursued by the EOCO over purported dud cheques.
The men are Hayford Opoku, a director at MBG Limited; Amidu Ahmed Sulemana, a director at Holman Brothers Ghana Ltd and Joseph Ebenezer Ocran, also a director at MBG Limited.
A source at EOCO said Opoku allegedly 'conspired with others' to issue dud cheques to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) but did not say when the alleged crime was committed.
In the case of Sulemana, EOCO says that he is alleged to have 'conspired with others' to issue dud cheques to the GRA and added that he is a native of Tamale and likely to be hiding in or around Accra or the Northern Regional capital.
Regarding Ocran, the anti-graft body said “EOCO is investigating a case involving suspect Joseph Ebenzer Ocran who is alleged to have conspired with others to issue dud cheques to GRA.”
EOCO then alerted the public to provide it or the police with information about the whereabouts of the three men.
In late April, in the heat of the reported Ibrahim Mahama 44 dud cheques saga, the GRA issued a statement clarifying what it called the authority's role in the whole issue regarding the importation of various vehicles and equipment by two corporate bodies namely, MBG Ltd. and Holman Brothers Ghana Ltd, owned by the former president's brother.
The statement said in December 2015 MBG Ltd had a tax liability of GH¢13,150,761.20 to GRA as duties payable on vehicles and equipment that had been imported by MBG Ltd and had added that in December 2015 Holman Brothers Ghana Ltd. had a tax liability of GH¢3,788,873.84 payable to GRA as duties on vehicles and equipment that had been imported.
“To effect payment of duties and interest due on the said vehicles and equipment, MBG Ltd and Holman Brothers Ghana Ltd. each issued 23 separate cheques to cover re-scheduled duty payment to be drawn monthly over a 12-month period,” the GRA had explained.
It added, “Following the dishonouring of the first of 46 cheques, GRA had meetings with the two entities to discuss payment terms. The GRA agreed to a rescheduling arrangement with the two entities by which MBG Ltd. will pay GH¢800,000 monthly, while Holman Brothers Ghana Ltd. will pay GH¢192,000 monthly up to December 2017 to cover the entire amount which includes 25 percent interest rate and 25 percent penalty.”
The GRA had said further that “as at now the two companies have settled GH¢4,544,594.47 and GHC1,985,547.71 in favour of MBG Ltd. and Holman Brothers (Gh) Ltd respectively, leaving outstanding balances inclusive of interest and penalties of GH¢10,216,258.87 and GH¢2,178,544.61 totaling GH¢12,394,803.08. They have, however, not fully honoured the first two months' installment payment.”
GRA then went on to say, “For this breach of the terms of the rescheduling arrangement, the GRA has moved to serve notice to the two companies to pay all the total outstanding debt of GH¢12,394,803.08 that is owed, including interest and penalty on the said indebtedness, within 2 weeks from Wednesday, 26th April, 2017.”
It was later announced that Ibrahim Mahama's companies had paid the outstanding debts to GRA in full.
By William Yaw Owusu