Massive Rot Detected At COCOBOD But Management Fights Back

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

Documents from the Financial Intelligence Centre on the Ghana Cocoa Board, making the rounds portray a high level of corruption, nepotism, and money laundering.

But the biggest charge yet, is that the prices of the agrochemicals which were bought by COCOBOD had hugely been inflated by suppliers and perhaps the buyers (COCOBOD) in an effort to fleece the state of millions of dollars.

People familiar with the prices of the products told The Herald, that they are far less than paid for by the state agency.

Interesting parts of the documents, which mentioned a business owned by a certain Joseph Seth Aidoo Jnr, son of Joseph Boahen Aidoo, COCOBOD's Chief Executive Officer, has been disputed by management.

A statement from the COCOBOD yesterday said "the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo is not in any way related to Joseph Seth Aidoo Junior mentioned in the document in relation to Agri-Plus Limited. The said Joseph Seth Aidoo Junior is neither a son of Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo nor are they related in any way".

Media reports, had said that inquiries into contracts awarded to a newly established company, Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited, the documents sent to the Office of the Special Prosecutor were discovered.

The investigations revealed that a contract was awarded to Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited for the supply of 75,000 liters of Transform Akate Insecticide at a price of US$103.5 per liter for a total of US$7,762,500.00. Via the beleaguered Public Procurement Authority, this contract was sourced solely to the company.

Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited, also subcontracted the contract to Aedis Holding Limited (AEDIS) for US$80, 80357, a business owned by Joseph Seth Aidoo Jnr, believed to be the son of Mr Joseph Aidoo, COCOBOD's CEO.

Dow Agrosciences Limited (DOW), a UK-based company supplying the aforementioned insecticide, was further subcontracted by AEDIS.

The study concludes that the Agri-Plus contracting decision was based on the grounds of nepotism and/or money laundering based on trade."

The report further reveals that, Joseph Seth Aidoo Jnr, son of COCOBOD CEO, is a signatory to Agri-Plus' Ecobank Accounts, which was established on August 1, 2017.

"Analysis of the Agri-Plus Accounts showed that credits on Cedi account number 0010264510635401 were from October 2018 to May 2019 as shown in table 2 below, including GH35, 982,390.48 from the Ghana Cocoa Board."

The other shows large quantities of money accrued in the company's different accounts, both Cedi and Dollar accounts.

The COCOBOD statement signed by Fiifi Boafo, head of Public Affairs, said that "our attention has been drawn to a document circulating on several online and social media platforms purported to emanate from the Financial Intelligence Centre, Ghana, which alleges wrong doing by COCOBOD awarding a contract for the procurement of Transform Akate Insecticide from Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited through the sole sourcing method.

"The document further alleges that there is suspicion that the decision by COCOBOD to sole source the contract to Agri-Plus may have been founded on the grounds of nepotism and / or trade based money laundering.

"We wish to state that the decision to sole source insecticides and other chemicals for COCOBOD operations is based on COCOBOD's need for specific purposes. COCOBOD only procures insecticides or chemicals that have been tested and certified by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG)".

"It should therefore be noted that different insecticides have different active ingredients (the killing agent), different levels of concentration of active ingredients, different rates of applications per hectare of cocoa farm and different manufacturing sources".

It said that "some products have systemic effect while others take effect on contact with the insect. Some products are also formulated as cocktails and have both systemic and contact properties combined", adding "a company that holds the CRIG certificate for a particular product has proprietary right in the product and consequently COCOBOD can procure the product from only that company".

It explained further that "at the beginning of each crop season COCOBOD decides on the various insecticide and chemicals to be procured for the season based on the projected threats to the crop for that year. The insecticide application is varied periodically to reduce the chances of the insects developing resistance to a particular insecticide".

"For the case in question, Agriplus Horizon Farms Limited is the company that holds the CRIG certificate for the product. Approval was therefore sought from the Public Procurement Authority to procure the product amongst others through the sole sourcing method for COCOBOD's operations.

On nepotism, "we wish to state categorically that the suspicion that the decision by COCOBOD to sole source the contract to Agri-Plus may have been founded on grounds of nepotism is completely baseless and untrue.

"The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo is not in any way related to Joseph Seth Aidoo Junior mentioned in the document in relation to Agri-Plus Limited. The said Joseph Seth Aidoo Junior is neither a son of Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo nor are they related in any way.

"We therefore urge the general public not to give the allegations contained in the said document any weight", the statement said.

Source: www.theheraldghana.com