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We’ll deepen collaboration with GUTA on tax compliance - EOCO

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah & Jemima Okang Addae
COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah (middle), Executive Director, EOCO;  Ama J. Opoku (seated left), Deputy Executive Director, EOCO; Barima Dr Ofori Ameyaw (seated 2nd from left), Chairman of the Council of Elders, GUTA, and Clement Boateng (seated right), Vice-President of GUTA, with other officials of GUTA and EOCO. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah (middle), Executive Director, EOCO; Ama J. Opoku (seated left), Deputy Executive Director, EOCO; Barima Dr Ofori Ameyaw (seated 2nd from left), Chairman of the Council of Elders, GUTA, and Clement Boateng (seated right), Vice-President of GUTA, with other officials of GUTA and EOCO. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has said it will deepen collaborations with the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) on tax compliance for revenue generation.

At a meeting with the leadership of GUTA in Accra yesterday[June 13, 2022] to explain EOCO’s mandate on the tax evasion monitor in the country, the Executive Director of EOCO, COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, said her outfit would develop a road map to engage and sensitise traders to the need for them to honour their tax obligations to the state.

The meeting followed concerns raised by members of GUTA over recent letters received from EOCO inviting them for questioning on their tax compliance.

GUTA, which considered the letters as a form of harassment, requested a meeting with EOCO to seek clarification on the purpose of those letters.

In the said letters, EOCO demanded the tax returns of the traders, including their VAT receipts and sales books, which GUTA claimed caused fear and panic among its members.

Mandate

COP Addo-Danquah explained that her outfit had been working with the Ghana Revenue Authority on issues of taxation, adding that it was within the mandate of EOCO to investigate traders on their tax compliance to the state.

“The letters are not to harass you but to facilitate our work in monitoring tax evasion. We are not out here to collapse your businesses; we want to help you and also build the nation’s economy,” she said.

Others who also received the letters were forex bureau operators in Accra and Kumasi.

At yesterday’s meeting, the leadership of GUTA was also taken through a presentation on EOCO’s mandate and the work it did.

The Deputy Head of the Legal and Prosecution Unit of EOCO, Leo Antony Siamah, who did the presentation, said the organisation had the mandate to investigate cases of tax evasion, such as smuggling, under-invoicing and valuation, falsification of records and information, among others.

He said it could also prosecute serious offences that involved financial or economic loss to the state, money laundering, human trafficking, prohibited cyber activities and tax fraud.

He called for the support of all stakeholders to enable the organisation to fulfil its mandate successfully for the accelerated development of the country.

Sensitisation

The First Vice-President of GUTA, Clement Boateng, said members needed more sensitisation on the operations of EOCO to facilitate their operations.

“The engagement has made us understand some of the reasons the office wrote the letters as an agency set up by an act. We just want to appeal that sometimes the tone of the letters should be minimised in order not to appear as a form of harassment to affect businesses, because if GUTA does not grow, the country’s revenue won’t grow,” he said.

Mr Boateng pledged the support of his outfit to EOCO in carrying out its responsibilities and advised members to be law abiding by honouring their tax obligations to the state.