The Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) has joined efforts to improve royalty payments and collections due the state from the mining sector in Ghana. EOCO is the newest member of a group of related agencies in the extractive and minerals sub-sector led by the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF). MIIF is the statutory body that receives royalties on behalf of the state, and manages the Government of Ghana’s equity interest in large-scale mining companies. The Fund invests these dividends and royalties on behalf of the people of Ghana.

The Inter-Agency collaboration is born out of a framework to enhance the collection of royalties, expand the royalties net and streamline communication on royalties’ payments; especially from non-gold mining sectors such as salt-mining, sand-winning, limestone and granite quarrying.

Strategic collaboration (Inter-Agency Framework)

The collaboration initiated by MIIF in December 2021 has improved efficiency in the collection of non-gold royalties through collaborative efforts of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which is responsible for the collection of royalties on behalf of MIIF; the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) which assesses standards and accurate production measurements of minerals; and the Minerals Commission (MINCOM), regulator of the mining sector. The Inter-Agency committee comprises officials from the Minerals Commission, regulator of the sector; Ghana Standards Authority (GSA); Environmental Protection Authority (EPA); and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The Chief Executive Officer of MIIF, Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, welcomed the inclusion of EOCO to the Inter-Agency Collaboration. “The inclusion of EOCO adds a new dimension to this all-important initiative, and we will leverage on their expertise and infrastructure to help identify and collect royalties from these mineral types.”

Inter-Agency Framework Results so far

“Payment of royalties from quarries since we started this Inter-Agency Collaboration in December 2021 have gone up by over 100%. For the first time in Ghana’s history, sand-winners who had never paid royalties to the state are now making good their commitments and paying royalties. The Salt and Limestone sectors are performing above 200% on pre-November 2021 figures. We could end the year at circa GH¢30million – which was lost to the state previously,” said Mr. Koranteng.

The collaboration is also yielding much quicker reconciliation of data, collection of data and information-sharing. “We are dilating on the same information and adopting a singular multi-faceted strategy, because we are all in one room thinking about solutions and efficiency. This helps us to leverage our experiences for innovation.

“For example, through this inter-agency, the business development unit of MIIF has built a geo-mapping system covering most of the non-gold minerals. We are working together, with the relevant laws and mandates leaving no room for exploitation by those who want to take advantage of the system by deliberately living in the crevasses. This is the true benefit of working together,” emphasised Mr. Koranteng.

EOCO’s Role

The Economic and Organised Crime Office established by the Economic and Organised Crime Office Act, 2010 (Act 804) is a specialised agency to monitor and investigate economic crimes, and on the Attorney-General’s authority prosecute those offences to recover the proceeds of crime and provide for related matters. It has as part of its mission ‘detecting, investigating, preventing and prosecuting all serious economic and organised crimes in Ghana’.

“The non-payment of royalties offends the law,” said Mr. Koranteng. “There are instances when some practices of companies in the mining sector indicate clear attempts to evade their payment obligations through very complex schemes. What EOCO further brings to the Inter- agency is law enforcement muscle, and also the ability to detect and investigate these practices,” Koranteng further opined.

The Executive Director of EOCO, C.O.P Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, stated that: “EOCO has a mandate to investigate crimes and prevent the occurrence of same. To be able to do this, we need to better understand the mining sector in order to enable a full deployment of our resources, collect and package evidence professionally, and to protect data collected. This is what we bring to the Inter-Agency Framework”. We are excited to be part of an all-government collaboration,” C.O.P Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah said.


SOURCEthebftonline.com

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