The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has recovered GH¢1.074 million from Labianca Company Limited, owned by a member of the Council of State, Ms Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh.
The amount represents a shortfall in import duties the frozen foods company paid to the state.
In an investigative report, a copy of which has been seen by Graphic Online, the OSP accused Ms Asomah-Hinneh of influence-peddling for 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 of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which led to a reduction in the tax liabilities of Labianca Limited.
Influence-peddling or trading of influence is a form of corruption in which a person uses his or her position or political influence to gain unmerited favours.
The OSP faulted a Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Operations, Joseph Adu Kyei, for issuing what it described as unlawful customs advance ruling which reduced the benchmark values of the frozen foods imported by Labianca Limited, thereby reducing the company's tax obligations to the state, reports Graphic Online's Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson.
"The OSP finds 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 the Council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the GPHA, the report, signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, stated.
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.
Ms Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh has, however, refuted any wrongdoing and has told Graphic Online that she was not aware of the report of the OSP or its findings and would speak to it once she apprised herself of the facts from the management of Labianca Company Limited.
"I cannot give any comment because I have not seen any report from the Special Prosecutor. I do not even know that the report is out," she told Graphic Online.
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