The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says it will not hesitate to deal with any of its staff found culpable in allegations of impropriety.
This comes on the heels of a report of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on the alleged commission of corruption and corruption-related offences involving the Labianca Group of Companies and the Customs Division of GRA.
GRA in a statement said, “the Board and Management of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has followed media discussions and reactions following the release of the Report of the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into alleged commission of corruption and corruption-related offences involving Labianca Group of companies and the Customs Division of GRA.”
The Authority stated for the record that it accords the Office of the Special Prosecutor the needed respect and dignity.
The revenue authority noted that it continually looks for every opportunity to improve on revenue as well as block any leakage.
It said it is studying the outcomes of the report in detail and will not hesitate to ensure that, per its mandate, all processes and procedures that are identified to lead to the loss of revenue or have the potential to lead to loss of revenue are blocked.
The Authority further said the comments made by the Commissioner of the Customs Division, Col Kwadwo Damoah Rtd. at the Customs Management Retreat on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, on the outcomes of the investigation “were made in his personal capacity and do not convey the opinion of the Board and Management of GRA.”
It assured the general public that prior to the release of the OSP’s report, it had taken steps to streamline and improve on the processes of accurately determining values of imported items and products.
“With the inauguration of the new GRA Board of Directors in August 2021, the Authority took firm steps to deal with practices or procedures that had the potential of reducing or not giving maximum value to transactions at importation.”
“One of such measures was to give a directive in December 2021 that with immediate effect no discounts or rebates are given on items or products at importation and to cancel all existing approved discounts,” it added.
It said it is ensuring that all unreasonable exercise of discretionary power which will result in the loss of revenue will be prevented.
“GRA uses this opportunity to assure all stakeholders of GRA and the general public that GRA has taken steps to ensure that all allegations of impropriety on the part of any of its staff are promptly and decisively investigated and that all cases of tax evasion or other acts that are contrary to the Laws governing the Authority will be dealt with.”
What the report said about Col. Damoah’s role
One of Col. Damoah’s deputies, Joseph Adu Kyei, was cited in the OSP report for issuing unlawful customs advance ruling in favour of Labianca company, thus denying the country the needed revenue.
This led to the reduction of the values of intended imports between a range of 5 percent and 10 percent
below the benchmark values.
The ruling was said to have been approved by Col. Damoah and did not appear to have been brought to the notice of the Commissioner-General, according to the report.
Colonel (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoah, has since taken a swipe at the report by the Office of the Special Prosecutor implicating his office in corruption-related acts involving Labianca Company Limited.
Speaking at a Customs Division Management Retreat in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Col. Damoah said of the report: “If you read it very well, there is nothing in it. It is hollow.”
He also indicated underlying friction between him and the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng.