The Office of the Special Prosecutor(OSP) has retrieved an amount of GH¢1.07 million from Labianca Company Limited, a company owned by a member of the Council of State, Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Asomah-Hinneh.
The recovery of the amount comes after the OSP launched an investigation into accusations of corruption and corruption-related offences against Labianca Company Limited and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
This is contained in a report released by the OSP dated 3 August 2022, dubbed: “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.”
According to the report, the Office of the Special Prosecutor received a written complaint from one Frank Asare in November 2021.
“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 contended that Labianca has gained undue competitive market advantage in the frozen foods industry by reason of the alleged corrupt and other unlawful dealings,” the report stated.
After the investigations, the OSP concluded that Ms. Asomah-Hinneh has capitalized on 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), and so accused her of influence-peddling.
A Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Operations was also cited for issuing an “unlawful customs advance ruling”, which has reduced the company’s tax liabilities to the state.
On this basis, the Special Prosecutor issued an interim directive on 21 March 2022 to Labianca Company Limited to pay an amount of One Million Seventy-Four Thousand cedis Six Hundred and Twenty-Seven cedis Fifteen pesewas (GHC1,074,627.15), representing the short collection or shortfall of revenue arising from the issuance of the unlawful customs advance ruling by the Deputy Commissioner for Customs in charge of operations, Mr. Joseph Adu Kyei into the Asset Recovery Account of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Meanwhile, Labianca Company Limited complied with the directive on 31 March 2022.
Read the full report below.
Ms. Asomah-Hinneh’s response to the accusations
Ms. Asomah-Hinneh has, however, denied any wrongdoing.
She told Graphic Online that she has not engaged in any corrupt deals and is unaware of the report or findings of the OSP.
She added that she would speak after she gets the facts of the issue from the Management of Labianca Company Limited.
“I cannot give any comment because I have not seen any report from the Special Prosecutor. I do not even know that the report is out.
“I have not been around, but the office is there, and so next Monday or Tuesday, I will call and ask them. It is the management, so I will ask them,” she said.