Labianca saga raises a number of troubling questions – Gyimah-Boadi

Co-founder and former Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Professor E. Gyimah-Boadi says the corruption-related offences allegedly committed by Labianca Company Limited raise a number of troubling questions about the state of governance in the country.

Council of State member, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, who owns Labianca Company, was accused by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) of using her position to get a favourable decision from the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, leading to a reduction in her company’s tax liabilities.

The Special Prosecutor has since recovered GH¢ 1 million from Labianca.

Professor Gyimah-Boadi said the President, by appointing Ms. Eunice Asomah-Hinneh to serve on the board of a public agency, set her up for conflict of interest.

“Secondly, is it appropriate for the President to appoint a member of the Council of State to a state agency board? Was there an objectively compelling public interest-related reason for the President to make such an appointment?”

He questioned if her appointment was run by the Council of State.

“And if the answer is yes, doesn’t the Council of State’s approval of the appointment of one of its members to a state agency board position smack of institutional self-dealing on the part of the Council of State?”

He said it is obvious that the entire episode speaks specifically to the entrenchment of incumbent leaders and political elite capture of Ghana “and generally, to the alarming decline in governance standards in our 4th Republic.”

He further recommended that the event should be a wake-up call for the urgent need for an “ethics czar at the Presidency, Executive Branch, Council of State, and other important decision-making and public resource allocation agencies and institutions.”