The Ahanta Traditional Council has entreated the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, to retract the statement of influence-peddling made against the Chief Executive Officer of Labianca Company on the issue of tax rebate benefited by her company.
In a press conference, the council said it is appalled at a supposed attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Western regional member of the Council of State, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, despite what they claim is evidence that she did not in any way benefit from influence peddling.
“The Council is bemused that despite the open denial by the Commissioner of Customs, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah, against any influence perpetrated by Eunice Asomah-Hinneh on him for the import duty waiver, several media accounts continue to insist wrongdoing”.
“We will resolve to peruse all necessary steps to protect the image of the Chief Executive who is a daughter of our land,” the statement said.
Dressed in red clothes, headbands and hand bands, about 1oo chiefs, queens and traditional leaders from the Ahanta Traditional Council in the Western Region all sat down in anger as the leaders addressed the press.
On 16 November 2021, the OSP received a written complaint from one Frank Asare against Labianca Group of Companies and its subsidiaries and Customs Division.
According to the report, the complainant alleged 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 also noted that the unlawful markdowns or reductions of benchmark values were chiefly because the beneficial owner of Labianca wields political influence.
The OSP says following the petition, it began its preliminary investigation into the matter in accordance with regulation 5 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018.
The OSP subsequently interviewed parties connected to the issue before publishing the report and its findings.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) subsequently recovered ¢1.074 million from the company.
According to the OSP, the amount represents a shortfall in import duties paid to the state.
The OSP made the revelation 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 contended 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 favourable decision from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The report signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, alleged that the influence-peddling by Ms Asomah-Hinneh led to a reduction in the tax liabilities for her frozen foods company Labianca Company Limited.