SP To Probe Issuance Of Customs Advance Rulings Following Labianca Saga
Following the probe that cited Labianca Company Limited for corruption-related acts, the Special Prosecutor(SP) has commenced a wider investigation into the issuance of customs advance rulings and markdowns of benchmark values between July 2017 and December 2021.
In a statement, the special prosecutor said the Commissioner of the Customs Division was expected to submit the particulars of all applications for customs advance ruling, applications for a markdown of benchmark values, applications for private rulings, and class rulings pertaining to the application of customs law and the decision on each of the applications.
The Special Prosecutor also requested an integrity plan from the Ghana Revenue Authority.
The aim is to prevent the “corruption of the exercise of discretion by officials of the Customs Division, especially in respect of the rendering of rulings, to assure the effective operation of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) and the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915).”
Meanwhile, the focus of the story has been on a Council of State member, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, who owns Labianca Company and was a former member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
She was accused of allegedly using her position to get a favorable decision from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, leading to a reduction in her company’s tax liabilities.
The Special Prosecutor has since recovered GH¢1 million from Labianca.
The money was recovered as a shortfall of revenue arising from the issuance of the unlawful customs advance, meant to be duties paid to the state following the importation of the frozen foods.
A Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Operations, Joseph Adu Kyei, was cited in the special prosecutor’s report for issuing an unlawful customs advance ruling.
This led to the reduction of the values of intended imports between a range of 5 percent and 10 percent
below the benchmark values.