Labianca report: We acted within confines of the law – GRA Commissioner of Customs

The Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah, has described calls for sanctions against him over the report implicating his office in corruption-related acts as unfounded.

Reacting to the calls following the report on the actions of the Labianca Company Limited, Col. Damoah maintained that he did no wrong.

He urged persons calling for him to be sanctioned to first understand the work of the customs.

The Commissioner said he is ever-willing to avail himself under the laws of the country if he breached any processes or is caught in any corruption-related matter.

“We are clear that we acted within the confines of the law. The Legislative instrument spells out what we should do. Nowhere in the publication has any fact been established against me that I am corrupt. I did nothing wrong. The company took advantage of an express provision in the law,” Col. Damoah explained.

The report by the Special Prosecutor implicated the office of the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority in corruption-related acts involving Labianca Company Limited.

The OSP recovered 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.

The money was recovered as a shortfall of revenue arising from the issuance of the unlawful customs advance, meant to be duties paid to the state following the importation of the frozen foods.

In the wake of the report, some Anti-Corruption groups called for sanctions against the Commissioner.

What the report says about Col. Damoah’s role

One of Col. Damoah’s deputies, 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.