Ibrahim’s accounts dormant, not closed – Sam George

The Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George says accounts on which businessman Ibrahim Mahama issued cheques to the Ghana Revenue Authority were not closed as claimed by the Authority.

According to him, the accounts may have been dormant.

The MP, has been speaking for the brother of former president John Mahama since news about the businessman’s indebtedness to the Revenue Authority broke.

Two companies – Holman Builders and MBG LTD. – belonging to Ibrahim Mahama are said to owe the GRA more than GHS10 million in import duties.

According to the GRA, Holman Builders owed as of December 2015, an amount of GHC3.71 million, while MBG Ltd was owing GHC13.15 million in duties as of December 2016.

Mr. Mahama’s companies were contracted under the John Mahama government to carry out various projects, including the clearing of a field to house the AMERI power plant and the construction of some roads in certain parts of the country.

He is said to have issued 44 different dud cheques for the payment of import duties on the heavy-duty equipment.

Related: EOCO probes GRA over Ibrahim Mahama’s dud cheques

The GRA said the banks returned the cheques with a note indicating that the accounts had been closed.

But Mr George said there may have been some hitches in the process and disagreed that the businessman issued the cheques knowing that the accounts were closed.

”As far as I am aware, MBG and Holman Builders did not issue any cheques on any closed accounts…it is one thing for an account to be dormant, and it is another for it to be closed.

“In further engagements with the GRA we should get further and better particulars on whether the accounts were dormant or closed because Engineers and Planners has not issued cheques for closed accounts, that I can state on authority,” he added.

He explained that like any personal account, once an account has not been serviced consistently for a period, it will need to be reactivated before transactions are effective.

“You may have funds in that account and issue a cheque, but because you’ve not been active on that account for six months or beyond, you send a cheque and it will not be honoured because that account has been closed.

“At times, you even go in to make deposits, and even though it is your own account, you will have to go and reactivate the account so if a third party came in to carry out a transaction on that account…you have to go through the processes of reactivating the account.”

Sam George says the GRA must engage with Mr Mahama’s bankers to clarify the true state of the accounts, insisting that the businessman will not issue cheques on accounts that have been closed.

Related: Ibrahim Mahama’s companies given 2 weeks to pay ₵10m debt

He said although there are some hitches, the two companies are committed to ensuring that their relationship between the companies and GRA is not marred.

EOCO’s involvement

The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has accused Mr Ibrahim of financial malfeasance.

The Office said the businessman issued the cheques, knowing full well that they could not be cashed.

But Mr George is not pleased with their involvement in the issue and the subsequent accusations of fraud.

He said “that is a matter that I do not believe is in the ambit of EOCO. EOCO is not vested with the powers to determine that. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that is vested with the powers to determine if any individual or corporate entity has acted in a manner that you can term a fraudulent.”

“What they are trying to suggest by that allegation is an intention to defraud and as far as I am aware that is a charge that does not hold,” he added.

But even with that, Mr George doubted that any court will find the businessman guilty of any criminal intent since his aim was to pay his debts once government paid him for the work he did.