COCOBOD Too Embarrassed To Release Cocoa Roads Audit Report 

CEO of the COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo CEO of the COCOBOD, Joseph Boahene Aidoo

The Herald, has landed scanty details of the much-talked about Cocoa Road Audit report, which the management of Ghana Cocoa Board is guarding like a state secret, forcing the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, to push for its release.

It has been almost four years after the Akufo-Addo government stopped the roads to establish fraud and malfeasances in their award by the Mahama administration.

But this paper's information is that, there are "no adverse findings against any official of the John Mahama administration regarding cocoa roads".

The audit was said to have been done be a company belonging to a Member of Council of State, Alhadji Aminu Amadu.

The name of the company, has been mentioned as Nyagsi Engineers Limited.

It is unclear whether the contract was subjected to any value for money analysis.

People familiar with the subject matter, revealed that the absence of anything untoward against the past administration, is embarrassing to the Akufo-Addo government and the management of COCOBOD hence, the reluctance to make the report, which the (NDC, has in the past, said cost the country some US$10 million.

The Herald's digging into the subject, reveals that some people have laid hands on the report already and are preparing to make it public in the coming days through a press conference.

It was revealed that, COCOBOD created an adhoc committee to look into all cocoa roads matter. The chairman of the adhoc committee was Alhadji Aminu Amadu, the Member of Council of state.

His private company was then hired by the adhoc committee to do the audit, but after the investigation, the government is yet to publish any part of the report, because it was deemed to be a fruitless venture, as no corrupt practice was identified against anyone in the Mahama administration.

It was further revealed that, after stopping the roads construction, the current management then awarded the most expensive cocoa road per kilometre in the history of Ghana, costing more than $116 million. In effect, a kilometre is more than $1.6m. The road is the 71km Elubo-Enchi road.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament, is fighting off claims of wrongdoing against former President Mahama, in the award of road contracts during his tenure.

Ranking Member on Parliament's Transport Committee, Kwame Agbadza Governs, has dared government to make public its audit report on the issues.

"There is no evidence that there was any wrongdoing in cocoa roads under Mahama… There is nothing proving that any of the procurement under even sole-sourcing, was done wrongly because Section 40 was adhered to," he told Evans Mensah.

Former President Mahama, earlier described as unjustifiable the move by the Akufo-Addo administration to abandon the cocoa roads project upon assumption of office.

The NPP at a news conference on Monday, however, provided some further information to support government's decision to hold on to the infrastructural projects.

Its Director of Communications, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, explained that "Cocoa roads contracts awarded by the previous government, constituting 229 projects, amounted to some ¢5.1 billion.

"This was at a time when funds available to pay for road construction in total was only ¢1.7 billion. Specifically, for cocoa roads, the approved annual amounts averaged ¢500 million for the Cocobod Infrastructural Development Trust Fund for the entire five year period for the programme."

Mr Buaben Asamoa, indicated that the suspension of the projects "allowed for a re-scoping and proper alignment of funds, as well as open competitive bidding processes towards the award of new cocoa roads contracts."

This assertion was also backed by the CEO of the COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo on Joy FM's Top Story on Monday.

But the NDC wants these allegations to be taken with a pinch of salt.

"If you're looking for a government that is unable to be straight with the people, you stop cocoa roads and the roads deteriorate, you are not able to publish the report, yet you went doing this. Today a kilometre of Enchi-Elubo road of 71km will be $160 million?" said Kwame Agbodza Governs.

According to him, the inability of government to publish the audit report detailing the findings, goes a long way to buttress the NDC's claim of the process being a needless venture.

"Four years after the announcement of an audit into cocoa roads, the government of President Akufo-Addo, can't point you to a website or a location and they are now asking you to go and apply. That is a novelty," he added.

He believes government, has deliberately resumed constructing the roads a few months to the election for political gains.

Meanwhile, the COCOBOD boss, indicated that the details of the audit report cannot be made public.

He, however, added that one would have to go through 'processes' in order to acquire a copy.