The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) wants President Nana Akufo-Addo to without delay revoke the appointment of former Managing Director of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu as Board Chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) until he is cleared of previous corruption allegations.
According to the civil society group, the appointment of the ex-Maritime Authority boss is in bad taste given the accusations of financial misappropriation levelled against him and the subsequent public outcry as the fight against corruption is concerned.
“GII is calling on the President, to revoke the appointment of Mr. Kwame Owusu following the intense public outcry in the pending investigations into allegations of abuse of office and conflict of interest involving Mr. Owusu. The appointment has evoked disappointment among the general public particularly because of the events preceding his exit from his previous job. The raging debates are focused on the integrity of Mr. Owusu and its implication to the public perception of the new institution he has been appointed to,” the initiative said in a statement.
Having been accused of renovating his 2-bedroom Cantonments residence at the cost of GHc1 million, Mr. Owusu is also alleged to have superintended over questionable expenditure at the authority.
At a time when the government’s probe into the matter has been inconclusive, he has been given a new state role at the Ghana Revenue Authority–a situation Ghanaians have termed as a bad one.
GII further indicated that, having an individual with questionable character at an institution that seeks to mobilize the country’s financial resources through tax collection will stifle our revenue generation regime.
“Efforts by governments over the years at widening the tax net has been fraught with many challenges. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in addition to the myriad of problems faced by Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), trust in government to use the tax revenue prudently for the benefit of the taxpayer sinks with every corruption exposed in the public sector. In line with the above, GII holds the view that it is out of place to appoint an individual whose integrity has been questioned to the Board of such a sensitive entity as GRA. However, if the President wants to stand by his decision, then GII calls on him to publish the report of investigations that contradict the allegation of conflict of interest and financial misappropriation made against his appointee.”
The statement also warned that failure of the President to take the appropriate actions to have Mr. Owusu removed will only show his unreadiness to assist the GRA to carry out its core mandate of enforcing the country’s tax laws.
“Failure by the President to revoke Mr. Kwame Owusu’s appointment or publish the report that clears him will only contribute to negating all the efforts of GRA to promote voluntary compliance of the country’s tax laws and hence leaving the country to mark time at Tax to GDP ratio of 12.6 percent”, portions of the statement added.