GHANA’S NCA SPOTLIGHTS 32 ‘ILLEGAL’ ISPS BUT VOIP FRAMEWORK COMING
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has ordered 32 Companies to pay Ghana Telecom (GT) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) billions of cedis it owned the two bodies for their illegal operation by May 24, 2003 or to face the law and have their names published in the national dailies. NCA Acting Director General, Major John R. K. Tandoh (Rtd), did not name the companies involved but said they never applied to and were not issued with authorisation from the NCA to operate as Internet Service Providers (ISP) contrary to section 9 of NCA Act 524 of 1996.
The 32 Companies also failed to register with the IRS and thereby evaded the payment of taxes on their operations. Major Tandoh broke the news to journalists at Ada, near Accra after the NCA management retreat to deliberate on Liberalisation of the International Gateway and draft guidelines on the provision of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service in Ghana. The meeting also finalised discussions on Cellular Mobile licences and the need for a third National Network Operation (NNO) in Ghana, the criteria for selection as well as consideration of draft terms of reference submitted to the NCA Board of Directors.
Major Tandoh, who also chairs the NCA Committee on Tax Evasion by major Telecom operators said the illegal activity of the companies had caused substantial financial loss to the state by paying lower tariff to the Ghana Telecom and evading taxes by their failure to register with the IRS.
He said investigations by the Tax Evasion Committee indicated that between 2001 and 2003 a company, which operated under different names defrauded GT and the IRS whooping sums of 2,893,520,777.00 cedis and 1,447,182,021.04 cedis respectively. He said NCA had invoked section 141, 142 and 143 of the IRS Act 2000 (Act 529) for their failure to maintain records, furnish returns and pay tax on due date.