UK High Commissioner speaks on Labianca saga, commends Special Prosecutor

Kissi Agyebeng And Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah Hinneh12ER6 Kissi Agyebeng and Labianca owner Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh

Mon, 29 Aug 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

UK High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, has said that the widely held perception of rife corruption amongst Ghanaians is very worrying.

In her view, the government ought to take steps in tackling the root cause of the perception just like it needs to take steps to address the country’s falling standards on the World Press Freedom Index.

She said she was particularly delighted that the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, was pursuing the Labianca Frozen Food Company Ltd saga adding that it depicts what institutions should be doing.

“I was surprised to arrive in Ghana… about strength of feeling around corruption and certainly the perceptions are that corruption is getting worse in Ghana and that is a really worry I think for Ghana.

“Like media freedom, government really needs to understand where those concerns are coming out from and really needs to get under the skin, investigate properly, hold people to account to that. It was great to see for example the Office of the Special Prosecutor recently seizing the profits, seizing the assets of a well-known company [Labianca Frozen Food Company Ltd]. That’s a great example of those institutions being able to do their job,” Harriet Thompson said in an interview on Accra-based Joy News.

She added that corruption-fighting agencies such as the Special Prosecutor’s office should be independent of any influence.

The High Commissioner said in this regard, the government must endeavor to tool such offices in order to help them discharge their duties without fear or favor.

“I am happy that the office of the Special Prosecutor is able to seize those assets and I think that for those institutions like the Office of the Special Prosecutor, like EOCO…all of those organizations need to be independent. They need to be able to do their jobs without fear or favor and government needs to support them in following those investigations through to hold people to account,” Harriet Thompson stressed.

The Special Prosecutor in an investigative report 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” revealed that the frozen foods company owner, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, 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 GPHA Board to influence a favourable decision from the Customs Divisions of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), leading to a reduction in the tax liabilities of Labianca 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.

The Special Prosecutor has since been pursuing the matter and has launched wider investigations into the issuance of customs advance rulings and markdowns of benchmark values by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)between July 2017 and December 2021.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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