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Labianca saga: OSP lifts ban on auction sale of vehicles, other goods

Kissi Agyebeng Fresh Kissi Agyebeng, Special Prosecutor

Mon, 12 Sep 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has lifted the ban placed on the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority for the auction of vehicles and other goods.

The Customs Division was last month barred from undertaking any auction sale as part of investigations into suspected corrupt practices which were said to have taken place in July 2016 and August 2022.

In a statement issued by the OSP, the Customs Division can now go ahead with auction sales of vehicles and other goods from Monday 12, September 2022.

“The auction sales should be conducted strictly in accordance with legal requirement, especially the provisions of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891),” the OSP explained in a statement.

“The Customs Division should cooperate and work closely with authorized officers of the Office of the Special Prosecutor in respect of the investigation and the conduct of auction sales. The Office of the Special Prosecutor reminds all officers of the Customs Division and prospective bidders at the subsequent auctions that the investigation is still active and ongoing,” the statement added.

Before this, the immediate past Commissioner of the Customs Division. Col. Rtd. Damoah was asked by the OSP to provide some pertinent documentation to assist in the investigation.

Subsequently, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed Colonel (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoah, to hand over his duties to an acting Deputy Commissioner.

The decision, according to a statement issued by the Presidency follows the expiration of Col. Damoah's contract which took effect in October 2021.

See the statement below:



Background

Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd.)'s dismissal comes at a time he is being investigated by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, for his role in corruption-related acts involving Labianca Company Limited.

A finding from the Office of the Special Prosecutor 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” indicated among other things that the frozen foods company owner used her position to evade taxes.

Initially, while reacting to the report, the customs boss said any attempts by the Special Prosecutor to bring him down will not work.

“Three days ago a report purported to be coming from the Office of the Special Prosecutor trying to indict the Deputy Commissioner of Operations and myself [but] anybody who has read that report very well will know the basis of that,” he said while addressing some Senior Customs officers at a retreat in Kumasi.

“And luckily for Me, God is always on my side, before that report came that person had made a comment to some people who had come to tell me [that] he [Special Prosecutor] was going to publish that will discredit me…and I sent people to go and tell him that he is a small boy and I am older than him, I have lived a meaningful life and if he attempts to destroy me it won’t be easy for him. People have tried and I have survived and this one too I will survive it,” Col Damoah added.

However, in a interview, he said he will work with the OSP to assist with their investigations, adding that the Special Prosecutor has the right to investigate.

“I have been cooperating fully with the OSP. I responded to an OSP invitation on February 16 this year in connection with the Labianca issue. Currently, the office has asked us to produce all documents related to the granting of discounts by September 30.

“Additionally, the OSP has directed that we produce documents on auctions by the same September 30. We are gathering all the documents in order to meet the deadline given,” he added.

Aside from the Labianca saga, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd.), is also being investigated for corruption and corruption-related offences in the auction of vehicles and goods by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

In a statement announcing this development, the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, said the investigation would cover the auction sale of cars and goods by Customs between July and August 2022.

“The Office of the Special Prosecutor has commenced investigations into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of auction sales of vehicles and other goods by the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority between 1 July 2016 and 15 August 2022,” the statement said.

MA/FNOQ

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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