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Many Ghanaians didn't expect a Council of State member to be involved in Labianca scandal - Ofori-Kwafo

Social News Many Ghanaians didn't expect a Council of State member to be involved in Labianca scandal - Ofori-Kwafo
AUG 10, 2022 LISTEN

The Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Linda Ofori-Kwarfo has asked President to do more in fighting the corruption menace in the country.

She explained that although activists have been playing their role through advocacy to ensure the practice is nipped in the bud, the President has the power and the resources to ensure that corruption is reduced.

Her comments come after the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) recovered over GHC1 million GHC1,074, 627.15) from Labianca Foods in unpaid import duties, a scandal involving a company belong to a Council of State member.

The OSP has also called for wider investigations into Customs Division of the GRA and demanded for a copy of Integrity plans to prevent corruption.

The OSP investigated alleged corruption and corruption related offences in the context of evasion and valuation of duties on frozen and processed food products imported into Ghana between 2017-2021.

The case, according to the OSP involved some high-ranking officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

In its report on the investigations, the OSP said “Labianca Company Limited commenced operations in 2014 and it is wholly owned and controlled by Ms. Asomah-Hinneh on all practical and legal considerations. The company, it appears, imports about two hundred (200) forty (40) footer shipping containers of frozen chicken parts, fish, pork and fries monthly primarily from Europe and the United States of America . It enjoys a substantial market share in the imported frozen foods industry.

“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 commenced applications to the Customs Division for the acceptance by the latter of the values of frozen foods it intended to import.

“By the time the company commenced the applications, Ms. Asomah-Hinneh had been elected a member of the Council of State representing the Western Region and appointed a member of the governing board of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority – positions she held at all material times. On this reckoning, Ms. Asomah-Hinneh is a politically exposed person as defined under section 79 of Act 959.”

Speaking on this matter on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 with Alfred Ocansey, Tuesday August 9, Madam Linda Ofori-Kwafo who is also Board Chair of the OSP said “We have always been making the advocacy and calling on the executive to actually do more in fighting corruption. The reason being, he has so much much powers that some of us do not have, so we will continue to do the advocacy in calling for such to happen.

“But as I said, there is the need for stakeholders to equally play their role. So in as much as we have called enough for there to be more efforts or commitment, political will on the part of executive and other state agencies with the mandate to fight corruption with all the resources at their disposals to do so and also sending the right signals at the any opportunity they get, there is also the need for every person to play a critical role.

“In this particular instance, I am sure many Ghanaians wouldn’t have expected a person who is a member of the Council of State to have actually allowed his company to be involved in such a deal.”

She further called on the President to deal with the Council of State member allegedly involved in this matter.

“I think it will be very appropriate for the appointing authority of the Council of State members to take special interest in this matter as well and see whether their rules and code of conduct governing the members have any kind of punishments or that has to go with such a conduct which the OSP has found to be untoward, for which necessary steps have been taken to recover moneys that were due the state.

“In that particular instance, I'm sure the President should be interested in this matter, take special interest in in the matter, consult the office of the Special Prosecutor and then know what actions there would be to be taken so far as as the person involved being part of the Council of state is concerned,” she said.

---3news.com

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