The Chamber of Freight and Trade (CFT) has decried what it calls an attempt by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to link Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh to an alleged act of influence peddling.

The organisation said this “is a clear case of Give a dog a bad name and hang it.”

In a statement dated August 10, singned by its President, Dennis Amfo Sefah, the Chamber noted that, “we have come across a purported report on investigations carried out by the Office of the Special Prosecutor into alleged corruption and corruption related offences involving Labianca and the Customs Division of The Ghana Revenue Authority in the media space, we are baffled by the contents of the report and are clear in our minds that the OSP got it wrong.”

On Monday, reported that the Office OSP has recovered an amount of ¢1.074 million from a company owned by a member of the Council of State, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh.

According to the OSP, the amount represents a shortfall in import duties paid to the state.

The OSP made the revelation in an investigative report titled: “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”.

However, in reaction, the CFT stated that the GRA and the Labianca Group of Companies did no wrong, “The chamber strongly believes that both Labianca and the Customs division of GRA acted in accordance to the Laws of Ghana, specifically the Customs Act 2015 (Act 891). It is never out of place or illegal for any importer for this matter Labianca Company Limited to engage Customs after the first three years of operations for “customs advance ruling” under Section 12 of the Customs Act (Act 891).”

The CFT further noted that, “The company or their Agents may not have known that there is a provision in the Customs Act that allow for an engagement with Customs for value acceptance within their first three years of operations.”

It stressed that, “This provision in the Customs Act does not in any way discriminate against any person on condition of their position, religion, status, tribe, Colour or creed, it is open to every importer and exporter, Ghanaians and foreigners. Hence the link of the application of the law to the position of the director and owner of the company is neither here nor there. By Law the Customs Division of the GRA are the only agency mandated for the classification and valuation of Cargo that are imported or exported out of Ghana, Sections 66 and 67 of Act 891 in reference. Importer like Labianca has no hand in the method of valuation and values customs may apply to their cargo at all time.”

According to the Chamber, “Over the years Labianca has been applying to Customs to engage them in Customs advance ruling under Section 12 of the Customs Act (Act 891). Customs has the authority to either accept or reject the applications and write to the company indicating reasons for rejection or acceptance. At no point during investigation did the customs division of the GRA stated that they approved the application under duress or base on the influence of the director of the company hence it is surprising and factually inaccurate for the OSP to come to the conclusion of influence peddling.”