It appears the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana COCOBOD, may have goofed when he suggested that a guest house in Bole funded by COCOBOD for the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana Research Station Guest at Bole, former President Mahama’s hometown, was constructed through the influence of the latter, for his personal comfort while in office.
Citi FM’s Latif Mahama who visited the facility at Bole in the Northern Region, reported that, whereas he saw the 8-bedroom old guest house which was only refurbished, he saw another entirely new building which was indeed constructed during the era of President John Mahama.
The claims that former President John Mahama influenced the construction of the guest house funds for his personal comfort, was shot down on Thursday by the former President’s special aide.
While the office of the former President has described the claims as false, the Manager in charge of operations at COCOBOD, appears to have somewhat given a rather different account of what his boss had said.
The response by the former President’s office was that, the guest house in question was an old building put up in the 70s, and was therefore not built by John Mahama, as alleged by the COCOBOD CEO, Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
The COCOBO CEO made the claims at a news conference to respond to several allegations of mismanagement of the cocoa sector, put forward by the NDC minority in parliament.
However, the COCOBOD CEO’s Office Manager, Fiifi Boafo, told Citi Eyewitness News that GHC 5 million was spent by the Mahama government not only to refurbish the old guest house at Bole, but also to construct additional facilities.
Fiifi Boafo’s response, appears to have contradicted his boss’ claims, and instead corroborated the position of Mahama’s aide, that the guest house referenced by the COCOBOD CEO, wasn’t a new facility, and that it was only renovated.
In seeking to ascertain the veracity of the claims from both sides, Citi News’ Upper West Regional Correspondent, Latif Mahama, visited the said facility on Thursday, to get the facts on the ground.
Giving a detailed description of the said guest house, Latif Mahama said “ The guest house is a very beautiful edifice with two compounds. The first compound is a huge storey-building to my right, and the second compound is a beautiful apartment close to the storey-building. I must say that the entire guest house is painted white with green roofing, and it is surrounded by beautiful flowers with very good road network. If you are here, one will not be wrong to say that this facility is the most beautiful place in the entire Bole township.”
According to Latif, the guest house is “located around the Western part of Bole, the capital town of the Bole District.”
Latif Mahama quoted the Manager of the Guest House , Julius Yeboah as saying that, the building existed years before Mr. John Dramani Mahama became President of Ghana.
Latif further indicated that, the Manager however pointed out that, in February last year , a construction company by name Gazelle Enterprise Limited based in Cantonments in Accra, arrived at the Guest House and served notice that they will be undertaking some construction works at the said facility.
He added that “they [Hotel Managers], had to evacuate their belongings and other facilities at the Guest House by March, to pave way for some kind of refurbishment to be done to the facility.”
Just about 20 meters away from the old facility, according to Latif, is a “huge storey-building which comprises a five bedroom house, and was constructed from March last year, with another apartment comprising four rooms.”
New facility not in use
Latif reported that, the new facility that had been constructed was however not in use as “completion is not yet done.” “There was nothing like furniture or bed in this new facility that is yet to even be handed over to the Institute.
I was told that four months ago, they gave him[Dr. Yeboah] keys to this huge building, but because they had not furnished the facility, the Institute is yet to use it so it is idling there with the security man sitting in front of it . Nobody has ever used that facility.
It is a new facility so it will be wrong for anyone to suggest that former President slept in this new facility,” Latif said.
He however confirmed that, the old facility was in use. According to Latif, the manager of the Hotel confirmed to him, that the former President John Mahama, indeed visited and slept in that old but refurbished guest house occasionally when he is in Bole.
He however could not confirm the claim that the former President influenced the extension of the renovation of the old facility or the new extension.
“I specifically asked Dr. Yeboah and he told me that he is unable to answer he was just here and the contractor from Cantonments came here and introduced himself to him and said that he was coming from COCOBOD to do the extension, but he said the contractor introduced himself as one coming from COCOBOD,” Latif said.