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Labianca denies OSP’s report

BY: Emmanuel Bruce

The management of Labianca Company Limited has denied that the company and its Chief Executive Officer, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, procured customs advance ruling through “influence peddling or trading of influence”.


The company says it therefore takes exception to the findings and allegations of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and has consequently instructed its lawyers to take the necessary action on this matter.

A release issued by the company said it had over the years, in accordance with due process, applied for customs advance rulings under the Customs Act 2015 (Act 891).

“Indeed, over the years, the company has been tax compliant and has discharged all its obligations dutifully,” the release stated

It said the OSP’s report is therefore at variance with what actually transpired.

The release noted that due to the nature of the operations of importers, the Ghana Revenue Authority, per Act 891, conducts periodic post clearance audits to determine possible undervaluation or overpayments of taxes.

“Consequently, the assumption of jurisdiction by the Office of the Special Prosecutor on such post clearance audit and our settlement of such taxes arising from such an audit is not synonymous with corruption and or corruption-related activities by the company,” it noted.

It said the several communications between the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the company confirmed this.

“Although the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not written formally to the company on its findings as required by due process and fair “trial” rules, we believe that the report findings are at variance with our recollection of events and submissions made to the office,” it stated.

Contribution to national development

The release further indicated the company’s commitment to always comply with the laws of the country.

“As importers of frozen foods, we will always comply with the laws of Ghana.

“We are committed to contributing our quota to national development by investing right in our cold store infrastructure, and value chain, creating jobs, and paying taxes,” it said.

Background

The OSP in a recent report noted that it had recovered GH¢1.074 million from Labianca, owned by Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, an elected member of the Council of State representing the Western Region.

The amount represented a shortfall in import duties the frozen foods company paid to the state.

In an investigative report by the OSP, Ms Asomah-Hinneh was accused of influence-peddling by allegedly using 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 for her company.

The investigative report, dated August 3, 2022, is 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.”