The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, has been petitioned to launch an investigation into the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and La Bianca Company and its subsidiaries for alleged evasion of import duties since 2017.
La Bianca Company is involved in the importation of frozen foods into the country.
According to the petitioner, Frank Asare, the owner of La Bianca Company, one Eunice Hinneh, who also serves on the Governing Board of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Council of State, has used her position to influence an arbitrary markdown on import duties.
“Complainant says that grant of the 10% markdown on legally prescribed benchmark values to the La Bianca was done arbitrarily with this known process,” the petition reads.
This, he said, is in breach of Section 12 of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) and the long-standing practices of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
He added that the arbitrary markdown the Company enjoys discriminately favours La Bianca over its competitors.
He revealed that this is not the first time La Bianca has been granted an illegal markdown on imported frozen products.
“On 20th April 2021, the Company was granted a 5% to 10% markdown on similar imported products contrary to the dictates of the law,” he said.
Also, in October of this year, the Customs Division allegedly caught La Bianca to have been involved in wrongly describing goods it had imported into the country.
According to Frank Asare, this was done to evade import duties.
However, upon the discovery, the Customs Division failed to exact justice.
“Ordinarily, when a company is caught to have misdescribed imported goods, the company is made to pay a penalty of 300% of the duty payable. However, the beneficial owner of Labianca Company, Eunice Hinneh, used her position of influence to escape this penalty and/or liability,” he alleged.
Frank Asare states that should the activities of La Bianca continue unabated, it shall cause huge financial loss to the state.
“If the Office of the Special Prosecutor does not intervene, the La Bianca Company and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority will continue to perpetuate this illegality leading to more revenue losses to the state and the collapse of the local poultry industry and the businesses of their competitors in the imported frozen food industry,” he warned.
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