OSP’s Report at variance with our submissions made to the office- La Bianca Company

According to the Company, the OSP’s report findings are at variance with their recollection of events and submission made to the office.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

The Management of the La Bianca Company Limited, importers of frozen food products has responded to the recently published report by the OSP on corruption and corruption-related allegations involving the company and the Customs Division of the GRA.

According to the Company, the OSP’s report findings are at variance with their recollection of events and submission made to the office.

La Bianca has dominated media discussion in recent times after a report by the OSP cited the company and its CEO for alleged corrupt dealings and influence peddling in procuring customs advance ruling.

On August 8, 2022, the Office of the Special Prosecutor released its full report into a complaint of alleged corruption and corruption-related activities involving Labianca Company in which it made a finding that “ the coincidence of the indicated applications by La Bianca and the public office appointments of Ms. Asomah-Hinneh, its CEO to the Council of State, was not altogether accidental and that there is strong evidence to suggest that the events are a product of influence peddling.”

Additionally, it noted that the said application by Labianca for a Customs review ruling was almost outlandish as it, in effect, requested the acceptance by the Customs Division of a range of values between 50% - 80% lower than the approved benchmark values of the frozen foods in question.

Further, the report found that the said customs advance ruling issued by Mr. Adu Kyei to the company was procured “through influence peddling or trading of influence by Ms. Asomah-Hinneh by employing her position as a member of the Council of State and a member of the Board of Directors of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.”

However, in its response, the company notes that it is saddened about the publication of the OSP’s report finding per the allegations made against the company and its subsequent discussion in the media.

Additionally, they reveal that the OSP has not written formally to them on its findings as required by due process and fair ‘trial’ rules.

La Bianca has further refuted the allegation made against the company and its CEO, Mrs. Asomah-Hinneh to the fact that they procured customs advance ruling through “influence peddling or trading of influence.”

The Company thus takes the report seriously and has indicated that it has instructed its lawyers to take the necessary action on the matter.

On the issue of customs advance ruling, the statement indicates that it has in accordance with due process, applied for the same under the Customs Act 2015(Act 891) and that the company has over the years been tax compliant and discharged all its obligations dutifully.

Also, it mentioned that due to the nature of its operations and others alike, the Ghana Revenue Authority per Act 891 conducts periodic post-clearance audits to determine possible undervaluation or overpayments of taxes.

The Company also refutes the fact that the OSP’s assumption of jurisdiction on post-clearance audits and payments of taxes arising out of such audits is synonymous with corruption and or corruption-related activities by its outfit.