COCOBOD Bleeds Ghana, Caught in Multi-Million-Dollar Scam

The Auditor General’s Report has exposed the Joseph Boahen Aidoo-led management and the Hackman Owusu-Agyeman-board of the COCOBOD for creaming of millions of Ghana cedis in procurements by violating Public Procurement Processes.

For instance, in 2019, internal audits conducted the Auditor-General (AG) shows that the management of Ghana’s main cocoa trading company bought Jute bags for packaging raw cocoa beans at GHC 114 million, instead of the budgeted GHC 76 million.

According to the AG’s report, COCOBOD deliberately eliminated companies that provided affordable bids and opted for those with expensive bids.

Whatsup News gathered that these companies have connections to people within the Akufo Addo administration.

“Officials of COCOBOD colluded with dubious elements in high political circles, to create a fictitious group of companies which bid for the supply of chemicals and knapsack sprayers”, the report said.

The document said after obtaining the best price guide from Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the said officials connived with cronies to eliminate the least bids by writing to COCOBOD to drop them out of the process so as to enable the contact to be awarded to the only remaining firm with the most outrageous bid price outside the approved band.

Local Newspaper, The Herald had first broken the story and for more than 24 hours after the damning indictment on COCOBOD, the company’s management has remained virtually mute. When contacted, the Director of Corporate Affairs, Fiifi Boafo told Whatsup News that COCOBOD is preparing to respond to the allegations on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

The internal audit also alleged that the COCOBOD management has developed a curious appetite for doing business with non-registered companies and non-VAT registered companies, contrary to section 183.4 of the Financial Administration Regulation 2004.

This is perhaps to hide the conflict of interest of certain top management of the company.

Meanwhile, information gathered by Whatsup News indicates that COCOBOD has practically phased out the free fertiliser regime of the government as instituted by the erstwhile government administrations and are now selling fertilisers to farmers through fronted companies.

The so-called Fertilizer agents reportedly take the subsidised fertilisers from the COCOBOD and allegedly channel them through private chemical shops who go on to profiteer from them by selling them at high prices to cocoa farmers and also for smuggling to neighbouring countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon.

KOTOKA COVID-19 Testing Scam Hits A Snag, As Airlines Protest.

Latest information picked up by Whatsup News from the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is that international airlines are protesting the mode of payment prescribed by the Akufo Addo administration for arriving passengers being tested for COVID-19.

Reliable sources tell Whatsup News that representatives of the airlines met the Ghana Airport Company and other Ghanaians authorities today, September 16, 2020, and told them flatly that they cannot force passengers to pre-pay for COVID-19 testing as the government proposed recently.

The Akufo Addo administration is working with Frontier Healthcare, a company owned by questionable individuals who have been given the contract to charge US$150 per passenger for a cheap COVID-19 Antigen test.

Initially, passengers were paying for the test on arrival, with those who could not afford either forced into quarantine or turned back. The obvious inconvenience apparently influenced the government and Frontier Healthcare to order that all passengers must pre-pay for the test before boarding their flights to Ghana.

A circular from Frontier Healthcare reads: “…as part of the COVID-19 test protocol requirements for Ghana, passengers travelling to Kotoka International Airport (KIA)-Accra are expected to make online payments…passengers are required to show proof of payment to airlines as a condition for boarding of flights to KIA.”

However, the airlines whose business have been hard-hit by travel bans due to the COVID-19 outbreak are not amused with the Ghanaians government asking them to take on an extra responsibility that might cost them their customers.

They reportedly stormed the meeting today at the Ghana Airport Company to vehemently resist the arrangement, Whatsup News gathered.

Already, the test has become a controversial subject as critics have fingered the Akufo Addo administration for ripping travellers off with the testing protocol.

Recently,  Dr Kofi Bonney, a scientist from Noguchi revealed that the Covid-19 test at KIA was being done through Antigen test which is the cheapest and less accurate.

According to him, the test being conducted at KIA is an Antigen test that should not cost more than US$ 30 per test.

Indeed, Ghana’s cost of testing is among the top-four in the world of countries including Benin and India.

“Scientifically with the PCR test, within 72 hours, it’s enough. I don’t know why we have to do an antigen test which is less sensitive upon arrival. If we look at the tests that have been done over the years, we have a varying sensitivity percentage between 34% to around 80%,” he told Joy News a couple of weeks ago.

However, his revelation quickly drew a counter statement from the management of Noguchi, who claim Dr. Bonney was talking in his personal capacity, and not necessarily reflect the view of Noguchi about the controversial test.

In a September 3, 2020 statement issued in response to Dr. Bonney, the Noguchi research centre insists that it does not share the views of its scientist and that of critics who have pointed out the apparent profiteering from the COVID-19 test.

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