The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has announced that it has begun investigations into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences involving auctions of vehicles and other goods conducted by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) between July 1st, 2016 and August 15th, 2022.
This was disclosed on Monday, August 22nd, in a statement.
“The Special Prosecutor also asked the Commissioner of the Customs Division to immediately cease and discontinue all auction transactions until the investigation is completed,” according to the statement.
In a previous statement issued on Monday, August 15, the Special Prosecutor, Mr Kissi Agyebeng, directed the Commissioner of the Customs Division, Col. Kwadwo Damoah, (RTD), “to submit to the Office of the Special Prosecutor on or before 30 September 2022, the particulars on all applications for customs advanced rulings, applications for markdown benchmarks values, applications for private rulings and class rulings pertaining to the applications of customs laws and
This came when the OSP broadened its inquiry into the Labianca Food scam to include customs advance judgements.
The OSP recovered over GHC1 million GHC1,074, 627.15) from Labianca Foods in unpaid import duties, a scandal involving a company belonging to a Council of State member.
Between 2017 and 2021, the OSP examined suspected corruption and corruption-related offences involving the evasion and estimation of duties on frozen and processed food goods imported into Ghana.
According to the OSP, the case implicated several high-ranking officers from the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division (GRA).
According to the OSP’s investigative report, “Labianca Company Limited began operations in 2014 and is entirely owned and managed by Ms. Asomah-Hinneh on all practical and legal factors.” The firm appears to import over two hundred (200) forty (40) ft shipping containers of frozen chicken parts, fish, pork, and fries from Europe and the United States of America on a monthly basis. It has a substantial market share in the imported frozen goods business.
“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 began applications to the latter for the latter’s acceptance of the values of frozen foods it intended to import.” Ms Asomah-Hinneh had been elected to the Council of State representing the Western Region and appointed to the governing board of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority at the time the business began the applications, positions she held at all material periods. According to my assessment, Ms. Asomah-Hinneh is a politically exposed person as described by Section 79 of Act 959.”
According to a message made.
Mr Kissi Agyebeng stated in a statement on Monday, August 15, that “on the basis of the findings, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has initiated further investigations into the issuing of customs advance rulings and markdowns of benchmark values between July 2017 and December 2021.”