La Bianca frozen foods, owned by Eunice Hinneh, a reported bankroller of the Akufo Addo/ Bawumia campaign has been dragged to the Special Prosecutor for investigations over alleged corrupt special treatments from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)
A private citizen, Frank Asare, complains to the SP that the GRA has since 2017 been proffering illegal special treatments to La Bianca, a company that has gained notoriety for its alleged collapse of Ghana’s poultry industry with its cheap imports facilitated by the GRA.
According to the petitioner, the concessions given to La Bianca and its subsidiaries were illegal and consequently need to be investigated.
Incidentally, Ms. Hinneh is a member of the Council of State and is also on the board of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. All of these appointments were through the express ascent of President Akufo Addo whose campaign was reportedly heavily funded by Ms. Hinneh.
Since 2017, the frozen food importation business has reportedly been virtually monopolized by Ms. Hinneh and her string of companies due to the preferential treatment she is receiving, and much to the anger of other players in the industry.
In his petition, therefore, Mr. Asare wrote that “… he wishes to petition your office to investigate these shady dealings between the Ghana Revenue Authority and La Bianca Company and their subsidiaries pursuant to section 27(1) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, 2017 (ACT 959),” the petition read in part.”
La Bianca Company Limited, according to Mr. Asare, applied to the Commissioner, Customs Division, on 21st October 2021 for consideration on custom import values for products it had imported into the country. Pursuant to the said application, the Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Custom Division, by a letter dated 26th October 2021 granted a 10% markdown of the approved benchmark values for imported frozen foods from 26th October 2021 to 31st December 2021.
In the said letter, the Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Custom Division, cited section 12 of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) as the basis of the discount of the 10% markdown he granted the company.
But according to Mr. Asare, “Section 12 of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) deals with the subject matter of “Advance Ruling” and does not support the grant of 10% markdown given to the company by customs given the nature and content of the application in issue.”
He adds that “Advance Ruling as provided under by Section 12 of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) is a pre-shipment application to determine how Custom deals with intended import as it relates to classification, valuation or determination of origin.”
According to the petitioner, the grant of the 10% markdown on legally prescribe benchmark values to the La Bianca was done arbitrarily and not in accordance with the provision of the laws.
Mr. Asare adds that this is not the first time La Bianca Company Limited has been granted an illegal markdown on imported frozen products. And that on 20th April 2021, the same Company was granted a 5% to 10% markdown on similar
Imported products contrary to the dictates of the law.
Meanwhile, sometime in October 2021, La Bianca was caught by the Custom
Division to have misdescribed goods it had imported into the country intending to evade import duties and that ordinarily when a company is caught to such acts, they are forced to pay penalties worth 300% of the duty payable. However, the beneficial owner of Labianca company, Eunice Hinneh reportedly used her position of influence to escape this penalty and/or liability.
“…these illegal and corrupt dealings between the La Bianca Company Limited and the Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority is causing huge financial losses to the state and must be halted,” the petitioner charged.
The petition has certainly put the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng in a tight corner, being that he will be forced to go after a key financier of the President that appointed him to the position.
Kissi Agyabeng is also a good friend of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the notorious cousin of President Akufo Addo who forms a key component in the Akufo Addo kitchen cabinet.