Anti-corruption group, Citizen Movement against Corruption says the argument by the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) over the report of the Special Prosecutor, implicating his office in corruption-related acts involving Labianca Company Limited lacks merit.
The Commissioner, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd.), reacting to the report by the Special Prosecutor said the document seeks to tarnish his reputation following his refusal to second one of his men, Mr. Akrugu, to the office of the Special Prosecutor.
The OSP recovered an amount of GH¢1.074 million from the Company owned by a Council of State member, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh.
The report indicates that Madam Eunice used her influence to get a favourable decision from the Customs Division.
Colonel Damoah (Rtd.) however insists the report is malicious.
In an interview with Citi News, however, the Co-Chair of Citizen Movement against Corruption, Edem Senanu said the payment of the money by Labianca Company depicts an admission of guilt.
“I don’t see the merit in what he is saying at this point. The genesis of the request and investigation and the fact that, the company has paid back the money [means an admission of guilt]. It is the Commissioner General who has been told to put in place an integrity plan not to cause such losses to the state”, he said.
Colonel (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoah, has taken a swipe at the Office of the Special Prosecutor following the report which implicates his office in corruption-related acts involving Labianca Company Limited.
Speaking at a Customs Division Management Retreat in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Col. Damoah said of the report: “If you read it very well, there is nothing in it. It is hollow.”
He also indicated underlying friction between him and the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng.
“I even sent people to go and tell him [Kissi Agyabeng] that he is a small boy. I am older than him,” Col. Damoah said.
“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.”
“He [Akrugu] deals with tariffs and valuation and therefore, I cannot second him to the office of the Special Prosecutor because he has a primary role to play in customs.”
Col. Damoah said Mr. Akurugu subsequently resigned, joined the Special Prosecutor and made allegations against him.
Col. Damoah’s role in Labianca’s actions
A Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Operations, Joseph Adu Kyei, was cited for issuing what unlawful customs advance ruling in the Special Prosecutor’s report.
This led to the reduction of the values of intended imports between a range of 5 percent and 10 percent
below the benchmark values.
The ruling was said to have been approved by Col. Damoah and did not appear to have been brought to the notice of the Commissioner-General, according to the report.
The report also noted that Col. Damoah “acknowledged the disingenuity of the outcome by admitting that the applicants did not meet the legal requirements for the issuance of customs advance ruling.”
Though Col. Damoah distanced himself from the wrongdoing, the Special Prosecutor found that he gave
his “tacit approval”.
“Indeed, Mr. Adu Kyei’s decision would not have passed muster but for Colonel (Rtd.) Damoah’s apparent approval. The halfhearted seeming recantation is unhappily belated and does not absolve Colonel (Rtd.) Damoah of ultimate responsibility for the apparently contrived decision,” the report indicated.