Traditional leaders in Ahanta in the Western Region have asked Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng to with immediate effect withdraw the case of influence peddling against the owner of Labianca company, Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh.
The chiefs say the member of the Council of State who also doubles as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authorial (GPHA) is being attacked unfairly.
The investigative report from the Office of the Special Prosecutor dated August 3, 2022, and 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” indicated that the frozen foods company owner used her position to evade taxes.
According to the report, Ms. Asomah-Hinneh used her position as a member of the Council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) to influence a favourable decision from the Customs Divisions of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), leading to a reduction in the tax liabilities of Labiance Company Ltd.
The report further noted that an amount of GH¢1.074 million which represents a deficit in import duties paid to the state has been retrieved.
But the chiefs would not accept any of these findings from the Special Prosecutor.
Chief of Ahanta Aboadi Nana Etsin Kofi II spoke on behalf of Ahantahene Otumfuo Badu Bonsu at a news conference where he described the findings as unfortunate.
He said “what is worrisome and devastating is that despite the denial by Col. (Rtd) Damoa of any influence peddling, on him by the Council of State Member for the import waiver, a section of the media continues to peddle a one-sided story”.
He appealed to President Akufo-Addo to help stern the tide on the issue.
He lamented that the ongoing attacks have the potential to destroy Ghanaian businesses hence the need for it to end.
“This unfortunate attack on our member on the Council of State is a threat to business investments from the private sector and on employment.”
He added that other companies are benefitting from around a 12% tax rebate. So why this attack on Labianca company? We call on the Special Prosecutor as a matter of urgency to retract the statement of influence peddling against our member of the Council of State,” as they deem it inappropriate.
“What is worrying and has caused us to come to you this morning is the disparaging part of the OSP report, which went further to state that the CEO of the company, Labianka, who is a member of the Council of State and one time Board Member of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, used her position to influence the Commissioner of Customs and the Director of GPHA to obtain the import concession for her company”.
Nana Etsin Kofi II, Divisional Chief of Ahanta Aboadi, who read the statement said, “this assertion by the Special Prosecutor we consider to be most unfortunate and regrettable” and, therefore, called on the SP to retract that portion contained in the report with urgency.