Former Special Prosecutor Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu has given his take on the recently published report by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on alleged corruption and commission of same by Labianca Group of Companies, owned by Council of State member Eunice Jacqueline Asomah-Hinneh.
The report issued by Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng on Wednesday, August 3 cited three witnesses – Madam Asomah-Hinneh, who is also a board member of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Joseph Adu Kyei, a Deputy Commissioner for Customs, and Colonel (rtd) Kwadwo Damoah, the Commissioner of Customs at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) – in an investigation conducted between July 2017 and December 2021 as regards the issuance of customs advance rulings and markdown of benchmark values to Labianca Group of Companies.
It indicated a shortfall in revenue collection of GH¢1,074,627.15 as a result of issuance of unlawful customs advance rulings.
Mr Agyebeng further directed GRA’s Commissioner-General Rev Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah to submit an Integrity Plan designed with the aim of preventing the “corruption” of the exercise of discretion by officials of the Customs Division by December.
- GRA studying OSP’s report on Labianca ‘in detail’
But in an article released on Friday, August 19, Mr Amidu said the OSP, first of all, had no legal mandate to publish the result of the investigation panel’s work “for the trial of the suspects in the court of public opinion that damages their reputation as good citizens”.
“Secondly, the OSP Labianca report does not disclose the commission of any corruption and corruption-related offences upon which the suspects or accused were cautioned or charged, if they were indeed cautioned or charged.
“The truth is that they were each treated as a witness in the investigation and made a written witness statement to the investigation at their respective interviews upon which no professional investigator and prosecutor could fairly, impartially, and independently make adverse findings against any of them.”
The former Deputy Attorney General, therefore, concluded that the OSP’s Labianca report “is not based on any authority upon which the report, which seriously damages the reputations of fellow citizens, was published in the media by the Special Prosecutor for the trial of the
suspects in the court of public opinion instead of by a court of law as mandated under Act 959″.
Mr Amidu, who is Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor, indicated further that the public’s reaction for the President to act on such an “unconstitutional” report is misconceived.
This comes after the Commissioner of Customs, Col Damoah (rtd), in a public rant after the report was published, described same as “hollow and actuated by malice”.
“I am ready for any prosecution and I know I will come out of it,” he told a gathering at a Customs Management Retreat on Wednesday, August 10.