The Commissioner for Customs, Colonel (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoah, who was implicated in the Special Prosecutor’s latest corruption report, has been relieved of his duties.
A letter signed by the president’s secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo, indicated that the beleaguered commissioner was already out of contract as far back as October 2021.
“…the president of the Republic has directed that effective Friday, 26 August, 2022, you hand over your duties and office to the ag. deputy Commissioner (Preventive Service), Mr. Seidu Iddrisu Iddisah, who will act as the commissioner (customs division)…” the letter dated August 26, 2022, reads.
He had been working for close to a year without a contract until the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into corruption-related activities in the operations of a frozen food company, Labianca, made him a subject of media reels.
His viral video describing the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, as a “small boy” is making fresh rounds following his removal, which is seen in sections of social media as a thinly veiled sack.
Col (Rtd) Kwadwo Damoah’s fall began after the Special Prosecutor found that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority had questionable dealings with the Labianca Group of Companies.
Labianca is a major importer of frozen foods in Ghana and is owned by Ms Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, who is a Council of State member and a member of the Board of Directors of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.
This was how she used her influence to give her company an advantage after the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority approved the reduction in the value of her company’s imports, the Special Prosecutor’s report said. It led to at least GHc1 million loss in revenue to the state.
According to the Special Prosecutor, Ms Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh, worked with Mr Joseph Adu Kyei, the Deputy Commissioner for Customs, in reducing the value of the imports. But it was Col. Kwadwo Damoah who gave the approval.
“Indeed, Mr Adu Kyei’s decision would not have passed muster but for Colonel (Rtd.) Damoah’s apparent approval. The halfhearted seeming recantation is unhappily belated and does not absolve Colonel (Rtd.) Damoah of ultimate responsibility for the apparently contrived decision,” Kissi Agyebeng said in the report.
Days after the report was published, Col. (Rtd) Damoah responded at a retreat with senior Customs officers in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, that the report was calculated to discredit him. He said the report was “hollow and actuated by malice.”
He claimed that the publication was because he refused to release an official named Akurugu to the OSP.
But he got viral social media attention when he remarked during the retreat that “I even sent people to go and tell [the Special Prosecutor] that he’s a small boy and I am older than him. I have lived a meaningful life and if he attempts to destroy me, it won’t be easy for him.”
Egged on by the staff at the retreat, Col. Damoah said “people have tried it, I have survived and this one too I will survive.”
Some 16 days after his public response, Col Damoah has been shown the door.