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Ghana: Serious Fraud Office investigation uncovers large-scale tax evasion at Scancom

Six months of investigations by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into the operations of Scancom (Ghana) Limited have uncovered international money laundering, tax evasion and balance sheet fraud. It is alleged that the company used a Technology Transfer Agreement to lower its tax liabilities. Following that finding; the SFO has called for action to repatriate about ¢8 trillion from the company which was sold by the Lebanese owned Investcom to MTN of South Africa in May 2006.

The SFO stepped in following serious allegations made against the company regarding its financial operations, the discharge of its tax obligations to the state and the circumstances of its takeover by MTN. It recommended the recovery of various sums of money being corporate tax and National Reconstruction Levy (NRL) evasion between April and December 2005, as well as between the period of January 1997 and March 2005.

The SFO also asked for the confiscation of $8,506,859.91, which had been unlawfully appropriated, with part having been used in surreptitious repatriation and the acquisition of equity in Scancom, by Investcom. Apart from that, $29,636,636.02, which is dividend purported to pave been repatriated offshore, through the country's banking system, without any recorded traces of that transaction within the banking system, was also to be confiscated. Other recommendations are the prosecution of SCANCOM and Investcom for money laundering offences and Scancom for financial statement balance fraud.

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