The Customs Staff Association (CSA) has waded into the controversy surrounding the investigation conducted by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) that implicates the Labianca Group of Companies and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for engaging in corrupt practices.
In a statement, the Association indicated that the report is misconceived and “and same is borne out of the misconception.”
According to the CSA, the Benchmark Values used by the OSP as a method of valuation rather than a risk management tool are inconsistent with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Rules on Customs Valuation and Section 67 of the Customs Act.
On the back of this, the group is confident that the findings of the OSP in the Labianca case is technically flawed.
“There’s therefore nothing wrong with the approvals made by the Commissioner since such approvals accord with the Customs Laws and established procedures in force,” parts of the statement read.
Earlier this week, the OSP published an investigative report which revealed that Labianca Group of Companies, a frozen foods company owned by a member of the Council of State, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh had a shortfall in import duties in excess of ¢1.074 million.
The OSP contended that 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 Harbours Authority (GPHA) to get a favourable decision from the Customs Division.
The report signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, alleged that Ms Asomah-Hinneh’s influence-peddling led to a reduction in the tax liabilities for her frozen foods company, thus, gaining undue market advantage in the competitive frozen foods industry.
But the Customs Division has refuted the Special Prosecutor’s claim against some of its officials in the case of Labianca Company.
The Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd) who was indicted in the report accused the OSP of malicious intent with the aim to discredit the Customs officers.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH with additional files from myjoyonline.com