The man seen as the eyes, ears and voice of the Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has made a shocking donation to the Eastern Regional office of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which has left many asking questions about his source of funding, especially when he is on retirement.
Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, currently the Special Advisor to Agric Minister on Cocoa Affairs, has ahead of the December general elections, given the NPP campaign team in the Eastern Region, 35 motorbikes at a price of Gh¢4,000 each.
Dr. Yaw AduAmpomah, had retired from COCOBOD as Deputy Chief Executive Officer under the John Mahama administration, but got a two-year contract, which later expired.
Strangely, however, he became a member of the Akufo-Addo transaction team in 2017, after he was reappointed to his previous office as Deputy Chief Executive by the NPP government for the sacking of some key civil servants at the management of COCOBOD.
Following media exposés, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, whose ministry now has oversight responsibility over COCOBOD, quickly created another portfolio for Dr. Adu-Ampomah, under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in October 2018, as the adviser to the sector minister on cocoa affairs.
He remained at COCOBOD and gets paid by COCOBOD.
Interestingly, other ex-staffs, who had retired from the institution, but were sent back by the Akufo-Addo government after several years of retirement, had since been forced out. They included Dr. Franklin Amoah of Executive Director for the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).
Aside the motorbikes, Dr. Adu-Ampomah, also donated 75 megaphones to the Eastern Regional Executives of the NPP.
Speaking after the presentation at a short ceremony held in the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, Dr. Adu-Ampomah, charged the NPP to engage in a door-to-door campaign as according to him, this year's election will be different.
Explaining the rationale behind the donation, he said most of the constituencies do not have the logistics to embark on their operations, so he considered it appropriate to provide motorbikes just so the campaign teams could embark on trips to all the communities to spread the good works of the NPP over the past three years.
He said, he was optimistic with the use of the motorbikes, they can reach a lot of people, rather than inviting them to converge at a designated place before they receive campaign messages.
The Regional Secretary of the NPP, Jeff Konadu, who received the items, commended Dr. Adu-Ampomah for the kind gesture and promised the motorbikes will be used to pull the required votes for the party.
He disclosed that, the regional executives upon receiving the motorbikes, have disbursed them among 18 constituencies, particularly where the NPP, has no MP, to aid them in their campaign ahead of the elections.
He, therefore, appealed to individuals, especially those from the Region to emulate Dr. Adu-Ampomah and donate to support the party in its campaign for the December polls.
Not long ago, the pro-NPP group Alliance For Accountable Government (AFAG) went angry, accusing the Agric Minister of appointing "a cabal of pensioners" to manage COCOBOD, hence the termination of appointments of over 300 middle level staff employed since 2013.
Below is the full statement AFAG issued in February, 2017.
We have learnt in total disbelief in this era of massive unemployment plans by the Government of Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo-Addo… led by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Afriyie Akoto to sack over 300 middle level staff employed since 2013 – with staff of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) and Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) likely to be most affected. We wish to extend our voices of support to the growing loud condemnation of such plans as exposed by the media.
From sources, Mr Afriyie Akoto with support from some senior figures within Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is in a hurry to take this partisan decision ahead of the inauguration of the new Board and subsequent confirmation of now new acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Joseph Aidoo. It is understood that the new Board together with the new Chief Executive Officer would be put in an uncomfortable position to overturn the decision.
It is alarming to note that COCOBOD Management has now been taken over by pensioners who have taken advantage of being part of COCOBOD's transition team occupying top management positions to undermine the legacy of the previous administration. And, notable among these personalities are Dr. Adu Ampomah (now Ag. Deputy Chief
Executive, Agronomy and Quality Control) a close friend of Mr Afriyie Akoto who has been on pension over the past four (4) years; Dr. Franklin Amoah, who has been on pension for the past two (2) years taking up the position of Ag. Executive Director of CRIG, a position he held previously and misconducted himself and subsequently transferred. Dr. William Mensah (now Ag. Deputy Chief Executive (F&A), Mr. Nana Oduro (now Ag. Deputy Chief Executive, Ops), Dr. I.Y. Opoku, (now Ag. Managing Director (QCC), and Mr Kwame Adjei, (now Ag. Executive Director (SPD) all due for pension should their accumulated leave be taken as done to the other Directors recently under the instruction of the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Afriyie Akoto.
To this end, the ongoing auditing of employments made since 2013 has ended…with heads of the Human Resource Department of the Divisions expected to submit details of the audit to Management by February 27th, 2017 for a decision.
To terminate lawful appointments made since 2013 of qualified staff on grounds of so-called lack of requisite qualification but with proven years of work experience on the job as well as favourable yearly appraisal is nothing but political with future implications/consequences for COCOBOD. It is more so, when such staff were duly engaged and appropriately placed at their respective Divisions. It is even more disturbing when COCOBOD has the capacity with respect to Bonso Cocoa College and Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to re-train such staff.
If the new Management of COCOBOD goes ahead to terminate appointments of qualified middle level staff for any reason mainly employed under the previous government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – then an era of job insecurity is ushered in and firmly established.
Therefore, no recruitment/employment during this regime is safe under a new NDC Government. They can go beyond 2017 and choose and pick if they so wish to terminate lawful appointments for their own good. With these reports, staffs are genuinely living in fear and in apprehension…with key stakeholders following developments therein the new management of COCOBOD holds in their hands the power of job security of all at COCOBOD now and forever.
SIGNED. Boniface Mensah Jnr Chairman
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