It is emerging that an estimated amount of GH₵5.6million revenue belonging to the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) was embezzled during the tenure of former Metropolitan Chief Executive (TMA), Isaac Ashai Odamtten.
Documents available to DAILY GUIDE revealed how a private revenue collector allegedly diverted 30 percent of the assembly’s revenue into a private account at the now defunct First Capital Plus Bank.
The private company, CTK GEOSys Ltd in a letter to TMA, dated February 18, 2015 and signed by Captain Tei Azu, Chief Executive Officer of the company, stated that “we have agreed with our bank (First Capital Plus Bank) to open a receivable only account under the name GEOSYS/TMA.”
According to the letter, “This account will only be used to manage the accounts of the TRMS, provide information on the Tax Revenue Management System and ensure the system works efficiently.”
“From this account, we will require a standing order from TMA to state that 70 percent of any deposit (cash, cheque or otherwise) for the payment of Property Rate Payment and Business Operation Permit be transferred into a TMA account to be provided by the Finance Department of TMA and 30 percent of the same deposits transferred into a GEOSYS account,” the letter stated.
However, when the letter was issued, the former Finance Officer of TMA, Nicholas Agbemadzi, raised serious concerns regarding the breach of Financial Administration Law.
He had said transferring payment of Property Rate and Business Operation Permit, revenues meant for the assembly, into a private account was wrong.
He asked the former Mayor to inform the revenue collector in a memo titled ‘New Account’ that the law does not permit any company “to hold our money for two days and that all revenues be paid into our account intact. We cannot allow this arrangement.”
Interestingly, the ex-Mayor purportedly disregarded the advice given by the former Metro Finance Officer and allegedly went ahead to sign the contract with the private firm.
Meanwhile, the former TMA boss denied the allegations when contacted.
Responding to the allegations in a whatsapp conversation with DAILY GUIDE, he admitted that the assembly under his tenure engaged a couple of private revenue collectors, including CTK GeoSys Limited, which is currently under investigations for alleged corruption.
The former Mayor further denied that he gave his consent for funds of the assembly to be lodged in a private account, assuring that he is ready to assist with investigations.
Touching on the invitation by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Ashai Odamtten confirmed receiving invitation from the anti- graft body, saying “They said they are investigating an issue involving CTK and TMA and would want my side to conclude the investigation. It was about when I could avail myself.”
The EOCO is probing the alleged embezzlement of GH¢5.6 million belonging to the assembly and had already quizzed two public servants.
Sources indicated that Mr. Odamtten, who is currently schooling at Oral Roberts University in the United States, allegedly awarded contracts to some private companies to collect revenues on behalf of the assembly.
As part of the contracts, one of the private collectors, CTK GeoSys Ltd, solely printed bills and distributed them to entities, shops and industries in the metropolis.
According to reports, some revenues collected were lodged into ‘illegal’ accounts since that function was ceded to a private company without the authorization from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.
Felix Mensah Nii Annan-La, the current Chief Executive of TMA, reportedly detected the anomaly and quickly lodged a complaint with the Police and EOCO.