The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) spearheaded a historic operation that resulted in arresting executives of Wan Heng Ghana Ltd., a Chinese-owned cement manufacturing company.
The company’s managers were taken into custody due to alleged tax violations totalling GH¢500million. The joint operation follows a tip-off from the Tema Medium Taxpayer Office of the Ghana Revenue Authority, as officials noticed discrepancies in monthly filings for the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and Ghana Education Trust (GET) Fund.
During the subsequent joint operation, police and military personnel tried to gather additional evidence from Wan Heng Ghana Ltd. – known for manufacturing Sol Cement; but the company’s management refused to cooperate with authorities investigating alleged tax evasion, leading to their detention by the military personnel. The authorities have also locked up the premises pending an outcome of the ongoing probe.
Documents obtained from the GRA indicate that Wan Heng Ghana Ltd., between 2018 and 2021, evaded approximately GH¢500million in value added tax and (VAT) and income tax payments alone.
Despite importing sufficient clinker to produce and sell GH¢1.36billion worth of cement, based on Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) standards, the company declared a mere GH¢223million in revenue – significantly under-declaring their earnings by 84 percent. The GRA estimates that this led to a loss of GH¢490million in taxes to the state.
A GRA official present during the operation stated: “The evidence we have gathered thus far paints a clear picture of deliberate tax evasion, with Wan Heng Ghana Ltd. grossly under-declaring their revenues and evading their tax obligations. Such illicit practices hinder Ghana’s efforts to raise domestic revenue and address pressing economic challenges”.
Responding to this development, the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers Ghana (COCMAG) – of which Wan Heng Ghana Ltd. is a member – stressed the importance of all cement manufacturers fulfilling their tax obligations to support the state. They affirmed their commitment to ensuring fair competition and ethical practices within the cement industry.
As investigations continue, the authorities say they are determined to bring those responsible for tax evasion to justice, signalling their unwavering commitment to upholding national integrity and safeguarding the country’s economic interests.