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Presidency Explains Why Akufo-Addo Earlier Denied Request for the Release of KPMG's Report on GRA-SML Deal

The seat of government, the Jubilee House has explained the reason for refusing an earlier request from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) for the full KPMG audit report on the agreement between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML).

On 24th April 2024, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, received a request from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), under section 18 of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989) (RTI Act), for a copy of the KPMG report on the contracts and transactions between the GRA and the SML.

The President had commissioned KPMG, on 29th December, 2023, to undertake an inquiry to gain a clear understanding of the matters in controversy, and to be properly advised in taking the necessary decisions.

Bearing in mind the provisions of the RTI Act, particularly section 5 (1) (a) and (b) (i) of the Act, the President denied the request by MFWA since the KPMG report constitutes matters exempt under section 5 of the RTI Act, the seat of government said.

It stated that Section 5 (1) (a) and (b) (i) of the RTI Act states that “information is exempt from disclosure where the information is prepared for submission or has been submitted to the President or Vice President for consideration or contains matters the disclosure of which would reveal information concerning opinion, advice, deliberation, recommendation, minutes or consultation made or given to the President or Vice President and is likely to undermine the deliberative process on the part of the President or Vice President.”

Furthermore, the presidency said, there has been a judicial pronouncement, in a case involving Media Foundation for West Africa, that a request which falls within the categories of information exempt under RTI Act can be lawfully declined.

The KPMG report comprises opinions, advice, deliberations, and recommendations that are integral to the President’s deliberative process and, therefore, qualifies as exempt information under section 5 (1) (a) and (b) (i) of the RTI Act. Thus, the Office of the President was justified in turning down the request from MFWA for a copy of the KPMG report.

It is important to recount that, even before the request from MFWA, the President had, on 24th April, 2024, caused to be published a detailed press statement outlining KPMG’s findings and recommendations, as well as his directives to the Ministry of Finance and GRA.

“The Office of the President reiterates the necessity for those who file applications and requests under the RTI Act to have a thorough understanding of its provisions.

“It is vital to appreciate that the legal framework for access to information includes safeguards intended to protect the sanctity of decision-making at the highest levels of government, which must not be compromised or misused in the pursuit of access to information.

“However, the President, in the interest of full transparency in governance, openness, and honesty with the public, has decided to waive the privilege under section 5 of the RTI Act and has directed the publication of the KPMG report in full.”