An investigative report from the Office of the Special Prosecutor, implicating Labianca Company Ltd. owner has implicated 3 others in issues of tax evasion and influence peddling at the Ghana Ports and Habour Authority (GPHA).
The report dated August 3, 2022 and signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng indicated that the frozen foods company owner had used her position as a member of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) and a Council of State member to attain reduced benchmarks on her imported goods.
The report further mentioned other persons who were interviewed in the investigative process and the roles they played.
Her company was one of the two companies including Rafano Frozen Foods Company Ltd which applied for the acceptance of values of frozen foods from the Customs Division of GPHA.
According to the OSP, an amount of GHC1.074 representing a deficit in import duties was discovered as the total revenue shortfall.
Joseph Adu kyei, Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Operations:
Joseph Adu Kyei was interviewed by the OSP because it was found that he granted markdown of benchmark values to Labianca in respect of frozen goods.
He was appointed Deputy Commissioner 2 months after Labianca Company Ltd submitted an application for the acceptance of values of frozen foods to the Customs Division.
According to the report, Mr. Adu Kyei rendered a customs advance ruling to the applicant by reducing the values of their intended imports between a range of 5% to 10% below the approved benchmark values of frozen foods.
The report further noted that there is strong evidence to suggest that Mr. Kyei’s decision to issue a customs advance ruling for the applicant was procured through influence peddling or trading of influence by Ms Asomah-Hinneh by employing her position as a member of council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the GHPA.
Etse Gadegbeku, Managing Director of Labianca:
Mr. Etse Gadegbeku was interviewed by the OSP as the Managing Director of Labianca with responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the company.
The report from the OSP’s office indicates that Mr. Etse Gadegbeku had, together with his boss, indicated that their company; Labianca did not apply for customs advance ruling.
This stance according to the OSP, contradicts Mr. Adu Kyei’s stance that the Customs Division under his supervision conformed to the prevailing standard of behaviour as regards allocation of benchmark values for the frozen foods company.
Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah:
Colonel (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoah was interviewed by the OSP as the supervisor of the official duties of Mr. Adu Kyei and the ultimate bearer of responsibility.
The report from the OSP indicated that the issuance of unlawful customs advance ruling for imports made by Mr. Adu Kyei – his immediate subordinate, for Labianca Company Ltd. led to the reduction of the values of intended imports between a range of 5 per cent and 10 per cent below the benchmark values.
The ruling was said to have been approved by Col. Damoah and did not appear to have been brought to the notice of the Commissioner-General.
Though Col. Damoah sought to distance himself from the wrongdoing, the Special Prosecutor found that he gave his “tacit approval” for the transactions.