Don’t ‘demonize’ Labianca; they did no wrong – Chamber of Freight and Trade defends

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The Chamber of Freight and Trade (CFT) has criticized the report of the Special Prosecutor which indicted the Frozen Foods Company Liabanca and its CEO, Ms. Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh.

The Chamber advised the public not to ‘demonize’ the company which would end up collapsing the business employing about 500 people as has happened to other indigenous companies.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor accused Madam Asomah-Hinneh who is a member of the Council of State, in its report of influence peddling.

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But speaking on Angel FM’s Anopa Bofo Morning Show, President of the Association absolved both the company and its CEO of any wrong-doing.

According to Mr. Dennis Amfo Sefa, both Labianca Company and the Customs Division of GRA acted within the confines of the law.

“The position of the chamber is that the Office of the Special Prosecutor got it all wrong. This is a clear case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging it”, he stressed in his rebuttal of the OSP’s alleged corruption report.

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President of the Chamber argued that “Customs [Division of GRA] does not work in isolation; they work under the law – Customs Act of 2015, Act 891 in which Section 12 talks about Customs advance ruling which states that any Ghanaian or foreign trader who imports or exports irrespective of your social class, religion, tribe, colour or creed has the chance to engage customs on the classification of value of the goods you import and the country of origin [within three years of operation].”

Customs have the right to either accept, reject or vary the value for the importer to pay, he told host of the show.

Mr. Amfo Sefa noted that the Frozen Foods Company Labianca applied for a 50% reduction which was rejected by Customs Division which subsequently granted a 5% to 10% reduction instead.

He announced that the payment of short collection made by Labianca Company is not an admission of wrongdoing however falls in line with the Post clearance audit laws as captured in Section 7 of Customs Act 879 of 2015.

Head of the Chamber further debunked the influence peddling assertions of the OSP describing it as factually inaccurate.

OSP never wrote in his report that Customs said the woman doesn’t qualify with her application for advance ruling. Customs did not also say the woman put a gun to their heads or “threatened that if you refuse me I will do this to you…so why must the OSP make that assumption? It is not fair”

When confronted with the information that the company did not pay willingly, he replied that “no short collection is willing paying; it is customs demanding from you and mind you Special Prosecutor is not mandated by law to calculate or collect duty. He doesn’t have that power. The only institution mandated by law for revenue mobilization, collection classification and valuation is Customs.”

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