After beating his chest about being untouchable, when his office was implicated in an investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), Colonel Kwadwo Damoah has been asked to hand over his office.
His title will now read ‘former Commissioner, Customs Division, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)’ instead of Commissioner, Customs Division, GRA.
This was after President Akufo-Addo on Friday, August 26, 2022 relieved Col. Damoah of his position.
Col. Damoah, some few weeks ago, whilst addressing some senior officers at a function in Kumasi, said any attempt to destroy him will not be easy, because many have tried but have not succeeded.
“I have lived a meaningful life and if he attempts to destroy me, it won’t be easy for him. People have tried it, I have survived and this one too I will survive,” Col. Damoah said.
He made the statement in the aftermath of investigation conducted by the OSP on a foreign food importing company, Labianca Ltd.
The OSP indicted the company of engaging in some irregularities at the port. The report said the owner of Labianca Ltd. had taken advantage of her position as a Board member of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) at the time, to get favours for her company.
The report also said that the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at the Customs Division, Mr Joseph Adu Kyei issued “unlawful customs advance ruling” to the Labianca Company.
Mr Kyei’s action is said to have led to the reduction of the benchmark values of the frozen foods imported by Labianca Limited, thereby reducing the company’s tax obligations to the state.
The Special Prosecutor issued an interim directive to Labianca Company Limited to pay an amount of GH¢1,074,627.15, representing the short collection or shortfall of revenue arising from the issuance of the unlawful customs advance ruling by the Deputy Commissioner into the Asset Recovery Account of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
But Col Damoah didn’t take this indictment of his office by the OSP lightly and embarked on a journey to clear his name and that of his office, as well as his Deputy Commissioner from any wrong doing and indicated that any attempt to destroy him will not succeed.
However, the letter from the office of the President, which was signed by the President’s Executive Secretary, Nana Bediatuo Asante said, Col. Damoah should hand over his duties and office to the acting Deputy Commissioner of Preventive Service to act as the Commissioner, while preparations are made to appoint a substantive Commissioner.
Giving reason for his dismissal, Mr Bediatuo Asante explained that Col. Damoah’s contract as the Commissioner of Custom’s Division expired on October 13, 2021.
“Following the expiration of your contract of service as Commissioner (Custom Division) of the Ghana Revenue Authority on 13th October, 2021 the President of the Republic has directed that effective Friday, 26th August, 2022 you hand over your duties and office to the acting Deputy Commissioner (Preventive Service), Mr. Seidu Iddrisu Iddisah, who will act as the Commissioner (Customs Division), pending the President’s substantive appointment.
But the Labianca saga is not the only issue that might have triggered Col. Damoah’s dismissal. The conduct of his office in the Labianca saga opened the Pandora’s Box for further investigations by the OSP, which actually directed Col. Damoah’s office to immediately halt and discontinue all auction sales, until investigations initiated into operations of his office is concluded.
The directives, according to the OSP, stem from suspected corruption and corruption related offences in respect of auction sales of vehicles and other goods by the Customs Division between July1, 2016 –August 15, 2022.
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor has commenced investigation 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 Special Prosecutor further directed the Commissioner of the Customs Division to immediately halt and discontinue all auction sales till the investigation is concluded,” the document signed by Mr Agyebeng, Special Prosecutor said.