I will commence investigations – SP responds to tax evasion petition against La Bianca

Wed, 17 Nov 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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Special Prosecutor petitioned to investigate La Bianca Company limited for tax evasion

Petitioner alleges the company has evaded tax with the support of Custom officials

Special Prosecutor says he will investigate the allegations if it falls within his remits

The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng has acknowledged receipt of a petition by one Fred Asare asking for an investigation into the activities of a frozen foods importation company.

According the Special Prosecutor, his office will investigate the allegations if they fall within the remits of his office.

Mr Asare in the petition dated November 16, 2021, said he had uncovered through painstaking investigations that La Bianca Company Limited was evading taxes through the connivance of some officials of the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

According to the petitioner, the alleged owner of La Bianca, Eunice Hinneh Asomah through her position as a member of the Governing Board of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority as well as her role as a member of the Council of State, was using her influence to gain undue advantage for her company to evade tax.

In a response dated Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the Special Prosecutor said his office will commence investigations into the matter should it be able to establish that is within its mandate.

“The Office will commence investigations into the matter if I determine that the complaint is within our mandate. You may be invited to assist the Office further should the need arise,” letter signed by Kissi Agyebeng said.

Among other things, the petitioner said the approval of some 10% markdown on legally prescribed benchmark values to La Bianca Company Limited by the Customs Division “was done in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner with the intent to unduly favour La Bianca Company Limited over its business competition.”

But speaking in an interview with Asaase Radio, the MD of the company has denied the allegations saying the underlying motive is a tactic by their competitors to smear the image of La Bianca to gain an advantage for the Christmas shopping season.

“We operate in a highly competitive environment, and I strongly believe these are bad tactics by our competitors to smear the image of the company and the CEO Hon. Eunice Buah Asomah Hinneh, to gain [an] advantage for the upcoming busy Christmas season. This is the latest move after all attempts by them had failed,” Gadegbeku said.

“We strongly deny the allegation of corruption and import duties evasion. Labianca company went through all the legal and proper application processes before the discount was given. The substance of their petition does not deny the practice of applying for discount and failed to address the valuable contributions that the company is making to the society as an indigenous Ghanaian business led by a woman

“Hon. Eunice Buah, the CEO of the company, did not at any point in the process influence the decision because of her status as a Council of State representative,” he added.

Mr Frank Asare, in his petition to the Special Prosecutor, dated November 16, 2021, said, “The beneficial owner of the company enjoys this arbitrary markdown because of her position of influence as a member of the governing board of the Ghana Port and Harbour Authority and a member of the Council of State”

But according to the MD, Madam Eunice Buah Asomah Hinneh, even though she previously served on the Board of the Ghana Ports of Harbour Authority, she is no longer a member of the GPHA board as alleged and that she wields no control over the activities of the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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