James Agyenim-Boateng, former aide to Vice President Kwasi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has said the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), under the Akufo-Addo-led government, has become a propaganda outfit.
According to him, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, rarely talks about plans and programmes for cocoa farmers in the country but only engages in blame games.
Mr Aidoo has accused the John Mahama administration of leaving behind a debt of GHS19.6 billion in the cocoa sector.
According to him, in the cocoa road project alone, COCOBOD, led by ex-CEO Dr Stephen Opuni, left behind GHS3.5 billion.
He told Chef Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5FM on Thursday, 2 November that: “The total debt we inherited from the NDC administration is GHS19.6billion. In the cocoa road alone, they left behind a GHS3.5billion debt for us to pay.”
At an earlier press conference organised on Wednesday, November 1, Mr Aidoo accused the Mahama administration of withdrawing US$400m out of the $1.8 billon cocoa syndicated loan for the 2016/2017 crop season, after losing the 7 December 2016 elections.
He said: “The NDC government secured an amount of US$1.8 billion for the 2016/2017 cocoa purchases which were projected at 850,000 metric tonnes.
“As of January 2017, the US$1.8 billion had been fully drawn and utilised when only 587,125 metric tonnes of cocoa had been purchased. 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 utilisation is the last drawdown of US$400.0 million which was effected on 20th December 2016 at the time the NDC had woefully lost the December 2016 elections.
“It is still surprising how the full drawdown of US$400.00 million (GH¢1.69 billion) was fully expended between 20th December 2016 and 6th January 2017 when the NPP government took over after 7th January 2017. Audit findings into the utilisation of the amount will be made known to Ghanaians at the appropriate time when the full facts are unravelled.
“Despite this inability to account properly for the loan, the NPP Government was saddled with a whopping debt of GHC19.6 billion after taking over in January 2017.”
But commenting on this development on his Facebook page on Friday, November 3 Mr Agyenim-Boateng said: “Cocobod has leapfrogged to become a major propaganda outfit of this government. You rarely hear the new CEO talk about cocoa and cocoa farmers.”