Senanu welcomes exit of Col Damoah; says this shouldn’t affect OSP’s investigations at Customs

Co-Chair of the Citizens’ Movement Against Corruption, Mr Edem Senanu has said the exit of the Commissioner-General of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Col Kwadwo Damoah (rtd) should not in any way affect the ongoing investigations at the customs by the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP).

Asked whether the instruction to him to hand over to the deputy, given by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will affect the OSP’s probe, Mr Senanu, after welcoming the news on the News 360 on TV3 Monday August 29, said “No, it shouldn’t be at all, I think it should go on.”

He added “when Col Damoah made the presser many of us in civil society said he had set the tone for deeper dives by the Special Prosecutor because obviously the Special Prosecutor already had information which he was using.”

President Akufo-Addo’s directive to Col Damoah to hand over followed the expiration of his contract of service.

Mr Akufo-Addo in a letter to him dated 26th August 2022 said “Following the expiration of your contract of service as Commissioner (Customs Division) of the Ghana Revenue Authority on 13th October 2021, the President of the Republic has directed that effective Friday 26th August 2022 you hand over duty and office to the Acting Deputy Commissioner (Preventive Service) Mr Asiedu Iddisah, who will act as the Commissioner (Customs Division) pending the President’s substantive appointment.

“The President thanks you for your service to the state and wishes you well in your future endeavours.”

Col Damoah has been involved in a controversy after he was captured in the Labianca Food scandal which was uncovered by the OSP.

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He however accused the OSP of attempting to bring him down.

This was after the OSP recovered over GHC1 million GHC1,074, 627.15) from Labianca Foods in unpaid import duties, a scandal involving a company belong to a Council of State member.

In his view, the report is ‘hollow and actuated by malice’.

The OSP also called for wider investigations into Customs Division of the GRA and demanded for a copy of Integrity plans to prevent corruption.

The OSP investigated alleged corruption and corruption related offences in the context of evasion and valuation of duties on frozen and processed food products imported into Ghana between 2017-2021.

The case, according to the OSP involved some high-ranking officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

In its report on the investigations, the OSP said “Labianca Company Limited commenced operations in 2014 and it is wholly owned and controlled by Ms. Asomah-Hinneh on all practical and legal considerations. The company, it appears, imports about two hundred (200) forty (40) footer shipping containers of frozen chicken parts, fish, pork and fries monthly primarily from Europe and the United States of America. It enjoys a substantial market share in the imported frozen foods industry.

“There was not much engagement with the Customs Division in the first three (3) years of the company’s operations beyond the settlement of standard customs duty and other tax obligations until 2017 when the company actively commenced applications to the Customs Division for the acceptance by the latter of the values of frozen foods it intended to import.

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“By the time the company commenced the applications, Ms. Asomah-Hinneh had been elected a member of the Council of State representing the Western Region and appointed a member of the governing board of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority – positions she held at all material times. On this reckoning, Ms. Asomah-Hinneh is a politically exposed person as defined under section 79 of Act 959.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana