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Corruption Watch want punitive sanctions for Labianca boss

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Chief Executive Officer of the Labianca Company Limited, Mrs Eunice Jacquieline

Corruption Watch Ghana (CW-Ghana), an initiative by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and coalition of anti-corruption civil society organisations, has recommended that Ms. Eunice Buah Asomah-Hinneh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Labianca Company Limited must be asked to resign or be removed from her membership of the Council of State.

CW-Ghana has also suggested that Mr. Joseph Adu Kyei, the Deputy Commissioner for Customs in charge of operations must be sanctioned, irrespective of the directive of the Office of Special Prosecutor for the opening of a wider investigation in respect of the issuance of

Customs advance rulings and markdown of benchmark values.

The recommendations follow recent report by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on an investigation into a complaint of corruption and corruption-related offences against Labianca Company Limited and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

The OSP alleges that Labianca Company Limited had evaded the payment of GHC1,074,627.15 as a result of the issuance of an unlawful customs advance ruling by Mr. Joseph Adu Kyei, the Deputy Commissioner for Customs in charge of operations.

A statement issued in Accra yesterday indicated that Ms. Buah Asomah-Hinneh is a politically exposed person (PEP) which fact underlines the importance that the country must attach to developing a full-fledged, efficient and functioning beneficial ownership disclosure mechanism to assist in tackling corruption and its related state capture by influential persons in society.

The group, whose membership comprise Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII),Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) and Multimedia Platforms Joy FM and Adom FM as main media partners, observed that in the

wake of the Special Prosecutor’s report, it has been evidently clear that the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) can become an effective institutional tool for fighting corruption if Government was to release to the Office all funds allocated to it.

As a result, CW-Ghana has petitioned the government, to as a matter of urgency, cause the release of funds to the OSP to enable it to undertake its mandate to give effect and impetus to the course that the OSP has taken.

Meanwhile, CW-Ghana has commended the OSP for recovering an amount ofGHC1,074,627.15 through the issuance of an interim directive to Labianca Company Limited, owned by Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, a member of the Council of State.

The group said the OSP’s action fulfills one of its core functions, which is the recovery and management of the proceeds of corruption and corruption-related offences and welcomed the directive for the opening of a wider investigation in respect of the issuance of customs advance

rulings and markdown of benchmark values between July 2017 and December 2021.

It further welcomed the directives, described as forward looking, to the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to submit an Integrity Plan designed with the aim of preventing the corruption of the exercise of discretion by officials of the Customs Division by December 31, 2022.

Corruption Watch Ghana, however, drew the attention of the OSP to Section 179 C of the Criminal Offences Act,1960 (Act 29), which makes it an offence for a person to use public office for profit emphasising that the offence is committed by both the person who holds public office and dishonestly abuses the office for private gain or benefit, and other persons who collaborate with the public officer to so abuse the office.

SEBASTIAN R. FREIKU

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