The Ahanta Traditional Council (ATC) has pledged to support the embattled elected Council of State Member for the Western Region, Eunice Asomah Hinneh over controversial report from the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), which indicted the former in tax evasion.
Though the Council of State Member at the center of the tax evasion has cough up GHC 1million back into government chest, the ATC still believes the woman who is a daughter of the Ahanta soil has done nothing wrong and has consequently slammed the OSP report.
It would be recalled that the OSP indicted the Council of State woman in the sum of GHC1milion as tax she has evaded in to name of her company-Labianka.
The report consequently chided her for using her position as then Board Member of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to influence the Commissioner of Customs to obtain import concession for her company.
The ATC at a press conference today, made it clear that it would not have been worried if the matter had ended up with the directive for the refund of the money involved in the said tax evasion as has been complied by the woman at the center of the matter.
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-Labianka, who is a member of the Council of State and one time Board Member of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority used her position to influence the Commissioner of Customs and the Director of GHAPOHA to obtain the import concession for her company”.
Nana Etsin Kofi II, Divisional Chief of Ahanta Aboadi who read the statement 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 urgency.
Clad in red and flanked by other chiefs, the Spokesperson explained that concessions were part and parcel of any economic planning and development globally and not only in Ghana.
He explained further that concessions were applied for and are 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 Aboadi chief recollected that in the erstwhile government of between 2015 and 2016, the same company benefitted from a similar concessionary facility as a company which imports over 200 40-footer containers of frozen foods.
Therefore, the attack on the Council of State member that she used her influence to secure the concession was not only an attack on 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. There are other companies who are benefitting from around 122% tax rebate so why this attack on Labiankaa Company”?
Flanked by Nana Ogudzi Essoun II, chief of Kwesimintsim, Nana Bozza IX, chief of Akatakyi and Nana Eziaku IV, chief of Agona Ahanta, the ATC however made a passionate appeal to the government for consideration.
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.
That apart, 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 call make this passionate appeal to the president and his government to help Ghanaian businesses as his government have usually done in time, to thrive by considering the reduction on import duties and withholding taxes especially in this challenging time”.