It is now clear that Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) employed the services of a dodgy entity called Safaritech Ghana Limited to do a supposed audit on MTN Ghana, which resulted in GRA slapping MTN with a back tax bill of GHS8.2 billion plus.
Since their identity was exposed by Techgh24, Safaritech has deleted its Ghana website – www.safaritech.biz. But Techgh24 managed to get a few screenshots of some pages before they could shut it down.
Find the screenshots below:
Figure 1 captured from the actual site, shows a page that spells out the claims of Safaritech Ghana Limited about their work in AUDITING. Under that they claim, among other things to provide advisory services to national revenue agencies (like GRA) and also to be a base of the IMF, GTZ, UNDP and ATRN.
In Figure 2, under PRIOR EXPERIENCE, Safaritech claimed they had done auditing/tax assessment jobs in a number of countries with sponsorship from IMF, USAID and the respective revenue authorities of those countries.
Techgh24 was in the process of capturing other pages when the website was taken down with the claim that it was being updated and it has since never come up again.
Web Archive screenshots
But a later search on Wayback Machine – web.archive.org – throws back the “ABOUT US” details of Safaritech Ghana Limited, where it claims to be a subsidiary of Safaritech Kenya Limited with headquarters in the United Kingdom and a vaunt of 20 years of experience in what they do.
Wayback Machine also throws up the Kanda (Ghana) street address of Safaritech and the email address – E68/9B ABLADE CLOSE, KANDA, Email: email@example.com. Further search shows that Safaritech shares this address with another company called 192G, which claims to be a sister to both Safaritech Ghana and Safaritech Kenya, and does same revenue assurance job – and they share same phone numbers.
Again, the web archives reveals Safaritech’s claims about the methodology it uses to supposedly catch tax evaders in the telecoms sector, which are similar to the claims of 192G.
Techgh24 also did a search about them in London, where they claim to be headquartered, and the results were quite revealing and damning.
- They have been dissolved in London since March 2021.
- They changed virtual addresses in London three times, but our sources in London said they never kept an office in any of these addresses.
- They maintained a dormant account with only £100 for the entire period they kept the supposed London office between June 2016 and March 2021.
- At the time they got the job in Ghana, 2019, their account had already been declared dormant and they had already filed for the London office to be dissolved.
Here are screenshots as evidence:
Once it is clear that Safaritech is a dodgy entity as revealed by questionable claims in Ghana and shady details in London, the focus now turned to Kenya, where the company originally hailed from.
Checks on its details in Kenya did not throw up any company website, except a general business directory, where only a street address and phone number is available for Safaritech Kenya Limited, as contained in the screenshots below.
And in those skeletal details, Safaritech Limited (Kenya) is described as a company into General Business – nothing was said about the claims it made on the defunct Ghana website.
This is the entity the Ghana’s tax collector, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) employed to audit its biggest and most decorated taxpayer, MTN Ghana.
Safaritech was said to have used some methodology that supposedly revealed that MTN Ghana hid 30% of its revenue from GRA between 2014 and 2018. Based on that information, GRA has slapped a back tax bill of over GHS8.2 billion, including penalties on MTN Ghana.
MTN has challenged the claim and is currently taking advantage of the 21-day hold off to engage GRA on it. MTN Group CEO, Ralph Mupita has also declared the company’s intentions to fight the claim if the 21-day talks fail to yield the desired result.
Beyond the 21-day talks, the Commissioner-General of GRA has the discretion to compel MTN to pay at least 30% (GHS2.46 billion) of the stated tax bill while MTN continues to seek redress in other forums, include the law courts.
Some industry watchers have said to Techgh24 they believe that one of the main intents of this “strange tax bill”, is just to collect that minimum 30% from MTN, which GRA will never refund even if MTN is found not guilty of the claims made by Safaritech. Again, GRA is under pressure to justify the money it paid to Safaritech for the audit so they will do anything out of desperation to pull some money out of MTN.
But a more serious impact on MTN is the reputational damage stemming from being accused of tax evasion, which is a crime by law.