Under the leadership of Dr. Fred Dzanku, one of the co-applicants for the r4d Curbing IFFs Research Project, the research team from Ghana participated in the Research Workshop at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva on the 14th and 15th February 2019. The team made some significant contributions to the success of the event. During the sessions team members responded to questions/feedback and made interventions as needed.
Dr. Ama A. Ahene-Codjoe of the Economics team from Ghana moderated the Work Package 1 (Economics) session and presented the findings from Ghana. The team’s working paper is titled: “Commodity Trade-related Illicit Financial Flows: Evidence of Abnormal Pricing in Commodity Exports from Ghana” and is co-authored by Dr. Ahene-Codjoe and Ms. Angela Alu. It focused on abnormal pricing in Ghana’s gold and cocoa sectors.
Some of the feedback for the Economics team in Ghana included potentially looking more closely at transactions from related and unrelated parties. Other feedback included examining the outliers in the data. There was also a suggestion to more closely examine the role of Customs to determine whether the misclassification found is a case of ignorance on the part of the officials, or it is due to willfully causing loss to the state. Other suggestions included investigating the role of the multinationals in the two commodity sectors.
The next steps for the Ghana team include revising the papers to more clearly outline the methodological contribution the study is making, using the estimates obtained to examine the drivers of abnormal pricing and estimating the revenue losses to the state from IFFs.
During the Work Package 2 (Legal) session, Mr. Martin Kpebu of the legal team from Ghana presented on “Transfer Pricing (TP) Rules, Procedures, and Documentations: A perspective on Ghana.” The paper was co-authored with Dr. Peter Atupare Atudiwe also of the legal team from Ghana.
They outlined some challenges they faced in their research which included unavailability of data and the inability to observe a typical transfer pricing audit. Some feedback for the Ghanaian legal team included looking specifically at the simplified transfer pricing regulations. The next steps for the legal team include strengthening internal interaction with other team members and planning for stakeholder interactions in the coming year.
Dr. Nene Lomotey Kuditchar presented on the political economy of gold and cocoa in Ghana during the Work Package 3 (Political Economy) session. The Political Economy working paper is titled “Mapping the Political Economy of Illicit Financial Flow Risk Nodes in Ghana: Beyond Corporate Self Righteousness and Government Age of Innocence.” Based on the feedback received, a next step for the team includes working on wealth chains for the various commodities, a field visit to Ghana and liaising with the legal team on the transfer pricing unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
During the workshop, the Ghana team displayed cocoa products such as chocolates and cocoa powder. Ms. Angela Alu, the PhD student with the Ghana team, joined the other student members of the team to usher guests to the conference, set up product displays and organize short interviews with project team members and advisors.