Report: Special Prosecutor recovers over ¢1m from Labianca Foods in unpaid import duties

Kissi Agyeneng, Special Prosecutor
Kissi Agyeneng, Special Prosecutor

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Kissi Agyeneng has recovered over GH¢1 million (GH¢1,074, 627.15) from Labianca Foods in unpaid import duties.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor in a report intercepted by Coverghana.com.gh has also called for a broader investigations into Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and demanded for a copy of Integrity plans to prevent corruption in the sector and beyond.

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.

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

According to the Office of the Special Prosecutor presents this report 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 report has been redacted to protect the privacy of persons and lawful trade
secrets of investigated companies.

Kissi Agyeneng said, on 16 November 2021, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (hereafter, OSP) received a written complaint from one Frank Asare against Labianca Group of Companies and its subsidiaries (hereafter, Labianca) and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (hereafter, Customs Division).

The complainant alleged ongoing corrupt, illegal and questionable dealings between Labianca and the Customs Division resulting in unlawful markdown or reduction of benchmark values of frozen food products imported by Labianca
under the guise of customs advance rulings.

According to the complainant, the unlawful markdowns or reductions of benchmark values were procured and being procured chiefly because the beneficial owner and Chief Executive of Labianca, Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh engages in influence
peddling through her positions as a member of the Council of State and a
member of the Board of Directors of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

The complainant contended that Labianca has gained undue competitive market
advantage in the frozen foods industry by reason of the alleged corrupt and other
unlawful dealings. It was also alleged that the same undue competitive market
advantage had been secured for supposed subsidiaries of Labianca – Rafano Frozen Foods Company Limited and Yoba Capital Limited.

The Special Prosecutor, upon determining that the complaint was within the
mandate of the OSP, authorized the commencement of preliminary investigation into the matter in accordance with regulation 5 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2374).

The preliminary investigation was conducted with as little intrusion into the privacy of individuals and the business operations of the cited companies as the circumstances permitted.

The report said, Labianca, being the main subject of the investigation, was directed to submit the following documents covering the period 2017 – 2021 in accordance with section 29 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) and regulation 10 of L.I. 2374.

Read below the full 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

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