As part of efforts by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to generate corruption evidence against actors of the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, the Ghana Cocoa Board spent a whopping $10million on fishing expeditions.
The background investigations had been slanted and carried out on the basis of jaundiced hypothesis that past appointees at COCOBOD had been corrupt, but all the investigations had come up proving nothing.
Former Deputy Minister for Trade, Murtala Mohammed, who made the revelation on radio last week said in the details of the wastage, a member of the Council of State stood culpable.
The elder in question, whose name is yet to bubble up, is said to own an auditing firm which got one of many contracts that COCOBOD had given out to auditing firms to investigate the former appointees in question.
Murtala Mohammed, in an interview on Accra based Radio Gold, hinted that this same Council of State Member in question is very close to Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
As the scandal begins to gather momentum, the issues that are hinting into place are that somebody at COCOBOD has caused financial loss to the state to the tune of $10million. And in the wastage, a member of the Council of State appointed by President Akufo-Addo has his fingers in the pie.
Hon. Murtala Mohammed who is also a former Member of Parliament, revealed that the fishing expedition is still ongoing and that just recently, people from COCOBOD approached the Agric Minister for more cash towards the project.
An unhappy Agriculture Minister, Afriyie Akoto Osei, is, however, said to have denied those seeking the extra funds, their request.
The media has begun digging and the revelations assembling into place look really scandalous. Apart from the Council of State Member’s firm, which is a local one, the rest of the other auditing firms employed to dig the dirt are said to be UK based.
Meanwhile the revelation that the NPP government has blown a whopping ten million on a useless fishing expedition comes at a time that the same government is contemplating cutting price it pays cocoa farmers because of an ongoing slump in world cocoa prices
On the sidelines of President Akufo-Addo’s last week encounter with the press, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, hinted that Cabinet is considering reducing the price per ton paid Ghanaian cocoa farmers to the level of what neighboring Ivory Coast pays her farmers.
The previous Mahama government, in October 2016, set payment to cocoa farmers at $1,700 per metric ton. Ivory Coast pays her farmers $1, 247 per ton.
“Cocoa is a problem … Ghana needs to have a discussion at cabinet level and put out a formula that is similar to that of Ivory Coast,” Ofori-Atta told journalists at the Flagstaff House on Wednesday.
A government which is constrained to cut prices paid cocoa farmers, blowing $10million (almost Ghc50million) on a useless attempt to incriminate former regime appointees leaves question marks in the air.
But the NPP government is under pressure to find scapegoats to prosecute because of accusations of corruption that it had gleefully leveled against the Mahama government while it was in opposition.
Following its assumption of power, the NPP has not been forthcoming about evidence of all the corruption that it had impugned on the predecessor government, with various regime actors, including President Akufo-Addo and Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, explaining the lack of prosecutions as being due to the government’s desire to ensure that it has all its facts handy before it goes to court.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels