The National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Bodi Constituency in the Western Region, has accused the management of COCOBOD of concealing information from the public with regards to the activities of the cocoa management agency, in order to paint the previous government black.
The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo, at a press conference on Wednesday made a litany of claims against the previous board, revealing that his outfit is investigating an amount of $400 million cedis out of the $1.8 billion cocoa syndicated loan secured for the 2016/2017 crop season, which was allegedly withdrawn by the former management, days after the NDC lost the December 2016 polls.
He said “The mystery surrounding the exhaustion of the US$1.8 billion is being investigated and the full facts will be made known to Ghanaians in due course. Peculiar to the loan utilization is the last drawdown of US$400 million which was effected on 20th December 2016 at the time the NDC had woefully lost the December 2016 elections.”
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has also revealed that the new administration has saved the country some Ghc80 million, following the review of a fertilizer and chemical supplies contract of over GHC500 million, awarded by the John Mahama administration shortly before they left office, after losing the 2016 election.
But countering the claims in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show, the Bodi MP, described Mr. Aidoo’s accusations as mere propaganda.
“It is difficult to believe them, they are hiding something. They should stop this propaganda and work, they are in government now,” Mr. Ahi stated.
On claims that the COCOBOD was cash-strapped and hence took a credit facility to buy cocoa this year, 2017, the Bodi MP said it is “strange” to him.
“It will be very strange and difficult to accept the fact that COCOBOD had to go for a loan to continue to buy cocoa this year…The current chief executive came to Parliament and accounted for the $1.8 billion and how much was used to procure the 960,000 metric tonnes as a way of certifying the additional 1.3 billion dollars for this year. I don’t know what they are using the money for.”
“There has been additional revenue to COCOBOD because we targeted to buy 800,000 metric tonnes and we sold 760,000 to pay the 1.8 billion dollars. And according to the current CEO, by the time they ended 2016/2017 cocoa season, they had exceeded the target.
They actually bought 960,000 metric tonnes, so additional 210,000 metric tons revenue coming to COCOBOD. So what are they going to use that additional revenue for? If you have surplus why do you go for loan?” Mr. Ahi asked.