Labianca Scandal: Your comments against OSP unwarranted; withdraw them – Senanu tells Customs Boss

Col. Kwadwo Damoah, (Left) Customs Boss and Special Prosecutor (right)

Co-Chair of the Citizens’ Movement Against Corruption, Edem Senanu has asked the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Col. Kwadwo Damoah, (RTD) to withdraw his comments against the Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng following the report on Labianca Foods Company.

Senanau said available facts indicate that there was something wrong with the transaction that involved the company hence the investigations by the Special Prosecutor.

Speaking in an interview with Alfred Ocansey on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 Wednesday August 10, he said “The language of the Special Prosecutor does not warrant the reaction from Col Damoah. I hear he even described the Special Prosecutor as a small boy, it is out of order to be talking like that, he has no basis for that.

“The fact shows something has gone dramatically wrong, nobody applied for something and you have given them tax exemption to the tune of one million cedis, there is every reason to investigate and I think he should withdraw his statement.”

Col. Kwadwo Damoah, (RTD) has accused the Office of the Special Prosecutor (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.

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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.

“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.”

But the Customs boss Col Damoah said while addressing some Senior Customs officers at a retreat in Kumasi on Wednesday August 10, that he was ready for prosecution and believed he would come out of it.

He said “I am ready for any prosecution and I know I will come out of it.”

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“Three days ago a report purported to be coming from the Office of the Special Prosecutor trying to indict the Deputy Commissioner of Operations and myself [but] anybody who has read that report very well will know the basis of that.

“And luckily for Me, God is always on my side, before that report came that person had made a comment to some people who had come to tell me [that] he [Special Prosecutor] was going to publish that will discredit me…and I sent people to go and tell him that he is a small boy and I am older than him, I have lived a meaningful life and if he attempts to destroy me it won’t be easy for him. People have tried and I have survived and this one too I will survive it,” Col Damoah said.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana