The Managing Director of La Bianca Company Limited, Etse Gadegbeku, has rejected allegations of tax evasion levelled against his company by a private citizen, Fred Asare
Mr Asare has petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate La Bianca Company Limited, a frozen food importation company, for tax evasion.
In the petition intercepted by GhanaWeb, Mr Frank Asare, who is the petitioner, said the company whose beneficial owner is one Eunice Hinneh Asomah – a member of the governing Board of Ghana Ports and Habour Authority, and a Council of State representative has over a period had its imported products not subjected to approved taxes and levies as prescribed by law.
According to the petitioner, he has uncovered through painstaking investigations that the evasion of tax by La Bianca is with the support of some officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
“Complainant says it is against this background that he wishes to petition your office to investigate these shady dealings between the Ghana Revenue Authority and La Bianca Company Limited and its subsidiaries pursuant to section 27 (1) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, 2017 (ACT 959),” the petition added.
Among other things, the petitioner said the approval of some 10% markdown on legally prescribed benchmark values to La Bianca Company Limited by the Customs Division “was done in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner with the intent to unduly favour La Bianca Company Limited over its business competition.”
But speaking in an interview with Asaase Radio, the MD of the company denied the allegations saying the underlying motive is a tactic by their competitors to smear the image of La Bianca to gain an advantage for the Christmas shopping season.
“We operate in a highly competitive environment, and I strongly believe these are bad tactics by our competitors to smear the image of the company and the CEO Hon. Eunice Buah Asomah Hinneh, to gain [an] advantage for the upcoming busy Christmas season. This is the latest move after all attempts by them had failed,” Gadegbeku said.
“We strongly deny the allegation of corruption and import duties evasion. Labianca company went through all the legal and proper application processes before the discount was given. The substance of their petition does not deny the practice of applying for discount and failed to address the valuable contributions that the company is making to the society as an indigenous Ghanaian business led by a woman”.
“Hon. Eunice Buah, the CEO of the company, did not at any point in the process influence the decision because of her status as a Council of State representative,” he added.
Mr Frank Asare, in his petition to the Special Prosecutor, dated November 16, 2021, said, “The beneficial owner of the company enjoys this arbitrary markdown because of her position of influence as a member of the governing board of the Ghana Port and Harbour Authority and a member of the Council of State.”
But according to the MD, Madam Eunice Buah Asomah Hinneh, even though she previously served on the Board of the Ghana Ports of Harbour Authority, she is no longer a member of the GPHA board as alleged and that she wields no control over the activities of the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
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