The Ahanta Traditional Council (ATC) has pledged to support the embattled elected Council of State Member for the Western Region, Madam Eunice Asomah Hinneh over the controversial report from the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), which indicted her in tax evasion.
Though the OSP has recouped the evaded GHc 1Million her company, Labianca was indicted to have evaded to the State, the ATC still believes the woman who is a daughter of the Ahanta soil has done nothing wrong and has consequently slammed the report of the OSP.
The OSP report hence scolded her for using her position as then Board Member of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to influence the Commissioner of Customs to obtain import concession for her company.
The ATC at a press conference made it clear that it would not have been concerned if the matter ended with the directive for the refund of the said money purported to have been evaded as has been compiled by the woman at the center of the issue.
However, “what is worrying and has caused us to come out to you this morning is the disparaging part of the OSP report which went further to state that the CEO of the company-Labianca, who is a member of the Council of State and one time Board Member of the GPHA used her position to influence the Commissioner of Customs and the Director of Port to obtain the import concession for her company”, they intimated.
Nana Etsin Kofi II, Divisional Chief of Ahanta Aboade who led the press conference said, “this assertion by the Special Prosecutor we consider to be most unfortunate and regrettable” and therefore called on the SP to retract that portion contained in the report with ur urgency.”
Clad in red and flanked by other chiefs, he explained that concessions were part and parcel of any economic planning and development globally and not only in Ghana.
He went on to say that concessions were applied for and were considered before approval for the promotion of business in any economy and therefore granting concessions to the woman at the center was not new.
The Ahanta Aboade chief recalled that in the erstwhile government of between 2015 and 2016, the same company benefitted from a similar concessionary facilities as a company which imports over 200 40-footer containers of frozen foods.
He argued that the attack on the Council of State Member of using her influence to secure the concession was not only meant to destroy her persona but a threat to business and investment from the private sector and on employment.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are conscious of certain elements or detractors who are trying to use the media for their parochial and selfish interest. Other companies are benefitting from around 122% tax rebate so why this attack on Labianca Company?”
The Traditional Council, however, made an intense appeal to the government for consideration.
He noted that the government takes steps to reduce heavy taxes and duties for importation of goods for Ghanaian businesses in these challenging times, tax exemptions given to foreign businesses and expatriate should equally be given to Ghanaian business owners.
He reckoned that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Finance Ministry should engage Ghanaian businesses with innovative measures to help their business to grow in this hard time.
“As traditional leaders, we make this intense appeal to the President and his government to help Ghanaian businesses as his government has usually done in time, to thrive by considering the reduction on import duties and withholding taxes, especially in this challenging time”, they opined.