HIPPO Ltd. (HIPPO) denies any wrong doing or complicity in any wrong doing by a state revenue agent or any person in respect of media reportage that some companies including HIPPO, have evaded import taxes due to the state to the tune of United State Dollars Three Hundred and Sixty Seven ($367m) million of which HIPPO Ltd is said to owe United State Dollars ($48.4M) Million.
HIPPO denies in the strongest possible terms these allegations. Consequently, since the media have cited the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Presidency as the source of the “audit report,” HIPPO has written to the Honourable Chief of Staff seeking formal clarification about the processes leading to the allegations of import tax evasion being made.
Moreover, HIPPO has offered to cooperate and participate in any manifestly fair process that will not only set the records straight about its financial operations related to its bonded warehouse use but also clear the hard earned trade reputation of HIPPO from the public opprobrium that may result from these unascertained but very serious allegations.
Much as HIPPO does not condone criminality of any sort in corporate operations, it is also conscious of the fragility of the indigenous entrepreneurial front, which toils through a maze of sometimes conflicting regulations and cross-cutting statutory enforcement requirements and even more painful, public misapprehension of the source of corporate success.
One such damaging misapprehension is the rumour that Hippo’s 200 strong struck haulage fleet was acquired for it by His Excellency President John Mahama. On the contrary, the truth is that these trucks have been financed with export guarantees from Germany and Sweden backed by HFC bank. These guarantees were advanced on the strength of Hippo’s good corporate track record. Interestingly, during the era of the NPP government, Hippo’s booming commodity business also suffered rumours of being owned by then President Kufuor. The damage these rumours inflict on hard working indigenous businessmen may be incalculable. It reduces their confidence and restricts opportunities that could make them the employment giants of Ghana. Is it the case that Ghanaian businessmen cannot strive for themselves or shouldn’t Ghana be moving towards economic modules of proactive support to indigenous wealth creation?
HIPPO was incorporated thirty years with Ghanaian Management; it has grown to a large group. HIPPO directly supports a Ghanaian workforce in excess of five hundred and indirectly supports many incomes in the financial, cross boarder and retail trading sectors of the economy. Naturally, these activities generate a broad range of tax incomes to the Government of the Republic of Ghana.
HIPPO’s modest but significant corporate presence over the last years has been and continues to be given by a corporate philosophy of God fearing, honesty, fairness, hard work, discipline and a focus on corporate excellence.
These values are affronted by the assumption of cheating made in the purported audit report and it is in that sense highly unfair that though no formal notification of an audit of the bounded warehouse operations was received from any ‘task force’ and HIPPO was not invited to participate in any such audit, entirely and manifestly against the rules of natural justice, HIPPO is unable to defend itself against the grave criminal offenses being alleged without the benefit of any report, draft or otherwise.
HIPPO trusts, hopes and believes that its letter to the Office of the Hounourable Chief of Staff offering its unconditional corporation will not clear the name of HIPPO in the public and corporate local and international world but also confirm that indeed, the due and legal obligations of HIPPO to the statutory revenue agencies have been adequately discharged.
HIPPO remains very humbled but proud of its contributions to the indigenous economy of Ghana.
Dr. Kofi Sarpong
Chief Executive Officer
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