The Office of the Special Prosecutor has now given the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority the greenlight to resume auction sales of goods and vehicles.
On 19th August 2022, the Office of the Special Prosecutor director the division to halt and discontinue all action sales to pave the way for investigation into previous sales.
Per of the OPS’s directive, the investigation was to cover the period between 1st July 2017 and 15th August 2022.
The auction sales investigation came on the back of controversies surrounding the alleged tax evasion by Labianca Group of companies owned by a member of the Council of State, who also served on the Board of the Ghana Ports abd Harbours Authority.
The Council of State Member was accused by the OSP of using her influence to get the Customs Division to give her ridiculous advanced rulings for which she evaded payment of the requisite import duties.
The OSP has since retrieved more than a million Ghana cedis from the company.
However, the customs division denied any wrongdoing insisting what ever was done was in accordance with the law.
Importers and players in the industry al came to the defence of the customs officials and the company, explaining that it is a normal practice.
Anti corruption campaigners however disagree and insisted that the action was both illegal and unjustifiable.
The then Commissioner of Customs, Col. Damoah at a forum with senior customs officials indicated that the report of the OPS was hollow and only meant to dent his image and that of his deputy.
He also described the special prosecutor Kissi Agyabeng as a small boy.
Not long after that, the OSP again indicated that it was commencing investigation into auction sales at the ports.
Some observers felt the actions of the OSP were targeted at the customs boss.
A few weeks later, Col. Damoah’s contract as Commissioner of the Customs Division was terminated.
Today, the OSP wrote to the customs division asking them to resume auction sales but under certain conditions.
Notably, the sales are to be done in strict accordance with the law.
The OSP maintains that the investigation into the previous sales is still ongoing.