The Chief Executive Officer of the Labianca Company Limited, Mrs Eunice Jacquieline Asomah-Hinneh, who has been indicted by the Office of the Special Prosecutor over the alleged role she played in granting tax exemption to his company, may lose her position as a Member of the Council of State.
This is due to the threat by the Petitioner, Frank Asare, that he “will petition the appropriate bodies for her removal from the Council of State.”
The Petitioner gave the hint in his comment on the report issued by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on corruption and corruption-related offences involving Labianca Group of Companies.
His comments were to commend the OSP and further called for full scale criminal prosecution of those involved, in which he hinted that he would soon push for the termination of the appointment of the woman.
The 1992 constitution spells out how a member of the Council of State can be removed from office, although their appointment ends with the sitting President’s term.
Article 89 (6) of the constitution states in part that “The appointment of a member of the Council of State may be terminated by the President on grounds of stated misbehaviour…”
In his statement, the Petitioner said members of the Council of State are supposed to exhibit high levels of integrity.”
He wrote that by using her influence “as a member of such a prominent state institution for corrupt influences, the indicted member cannot continue being on the Council of State.”
While commending the OSP for the findings on the dealings of the Labianca Company at the ports, Frank Asare disagreed with aspects of the directives as stated in the report.
The OSP report in point 5.1 stated that the office issued an interim directive to Labianca to pay to the state 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 Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
However, Mr. Asare said the refunds ordered were grossly understated, stressing that given the length of time (2017–2022) those underhand dealings had gone on, “there’s strong evidence to suggest that the state has lost far more in revenue than the company has been made to refund.”
He could not fathom why the OSP claimed that the circumstances of the case, as yet, do not warrant an application to the Court for lifting the veil of incorporation of these companies.
On the contrary, he posited that he disagreed with the OSP’s observation but believed that a case had been made for piercing the veil of the companies involved and going after their beneficial owners.
On November 16, 2021, the OSP received a written complaint from one Frank Asare against the Labianca Group of Companies and its subsidiaries and Customs Division.
According to the report, the complainant alleged ongoing corrupt, illegal, and questionable dealings between Labianca and the Customs Division resulting in unlawful markdowns or reduction of benchmark values of frozen food products imported by Labianca under the guise of customs advance rulings.
The complainant also noted that the unlawful markdowns or reductions of benchmark values were chiefly because the beneficial owner of Labianca wields political influence.
The OSP issued a statement following the petition, saying it began its preliminary investigation into the matter in accordance with regulation 5 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018.
The OSP subsequently interviewed parties connected to the issue before publishing the report and its findings.Read Full Story