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Special Prosecutor pass major test as he recovers over ¢1m from Council of State member’s company in import duties shortfall

The Special Prosecutor has pass a major test since he occupied Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).

The OSP has  been able to recovered a hopping amount of ¢1.074 million from a company which is owned by no other, but by a member of the Council of State, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh.

The Special Prosecutor explained that the said amount represents a shortfall in import duties paid to the state.

The revelation about the recovery of the over GHS1m was contained in  an investigative report titled: “Report of Investigation into Alleged Commission of Corruption and Corruption Related Offences involving Labianca Group of Companies and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority”.

 

The OSP  explained that Ms Asomah-Hinneh used her position as a member of the Council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to get a deal which should not have taken place.

He added that Ms Asomah-Hinneh had favorable decision from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which is supposed to apply the laws fairly.

In the report that had Kissi Agyebeng signature in it alleged that the Council of State member had an undue favour from the tax collection body which led to a reduction in the tax liabilities for her frozen foods company, Labianca Company Limited.

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The report cited a Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Operations, one  Joseph Adu Kyei as being one who  issued what has been described as an unlawful customs advance ruling.

The implicated officer reduced the benchmark values of the goods imported by Labianca Limited translating to reduced tax obligations of the company to the state.

“The OSP finds that there is strong evidence to suggest that Mr Kyei, decision to issue a customs advance ruling for the applicant was procured through influence peddling or trading of influence by Ms Asomah-Hinneh by employing her position as a member of the Council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the GPHA,” a portion of the report read.

The background of the story is that on the  16 November 2021, there was a written complaint against the Labianca Group of Companies.  The complaint came from  one Frank Asare against  Labianca and its subsidiaries and Customs Division.

The  OSP report indicated that  the complainant alleged of an ongoing corrupt, illegal and questionable dealings between Labianca and the Customs Division resulting in unlawful markdown or reduction of benchmark values of frozen food products imported by Labianca under the guise of customs advance rulings.

The complainant was also of the view that the unlawful markdowns or reductions of benchmark values sterns from the fact that the owner of  Labianca  group wields political influence.

The OSP indicated that it began its investigations according to law and that it has made engagement with the parties concerned before publishing the report and its findings.

By Robert

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