Jubilee House On Corruption Radar, Prez Fingered For Sitting on GHC 21.6 Million COCOBOD Insecticide Theft

-Gives Culprit Highest Award in Ghana

Records from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the Special Prosecutors Office (SPO) indicates that since December 2019, President Akufo Addo has swept under the carpet a damning investigation revealing that the Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) boss, Joseph Boahene Aidoo and his suspected relative have stolen GHC 21.6 million of taxpayers money.

The amount was siphoned by Joseph Seth Aidoo Junior, a suspected relative of the COCOBOD boss, by manipulating Public Procurement (PPA) processes to secure a phony GHC 45 million cocoa insecticide contract through a complex web of money laundering and companies created, to front the transaction.

Even though the content of the FIC investigations forwarded to the Jubilee House warrants a possible criminal prosecution of the COCOBOD boss, President Akufo Addo conveniently looked away and on November 13, 2020, awarded Joseph Boahene Aidoo the Companion Of The Order Of Volta medal, a meritorious award instituted in 1960 reserved for persons who have distinguished themselves in some form of public service to Ghana.

The content of the FIC report was intercepted by investigative journalist, Kevin Ekow Taylor who blew the cover-up on his online news platform, With All Due Respect.

The damning report shows that in 2018, COCOBOD contracted Agri-Plus a company owned by the relative Aidoo Jnr., the close relative of the COCOBOD CEO. The contract was for the supply of 75,000 litres of a cocoa insecticide called Transform Akate Insecticide from a UK-based company called DOW Agrosciences Limited (DOW). The amount stated per litre for the contract is US$103.5/ litre, which will amount to a total of US$7.76 million.

However, Agri-plus went ahead to sub-contract the juicy deal to a Mauritius-based company called Aedis Holding Limited (AEDIS). The contract sum quoted for Aedis was US$ 80.8 per litre of the cocoa insecticide, causing Agri-plus to pocket some US$ 2.5 million from skimming off the about US$ 23 per litre on the 75,000 litres of insecticide.

Consequently, Aedis received US$5, 4 million from Agri-Plus, but paid Dow, the supplier of the insecticide only US$ 4.03 million. The means Aedis also pocketed about US$1.37 million along the payment chain.

Incidentally, Agri-Plus and Aedis belong to Joseph Aidoo Jnr. According to the investigations by FIC, Aidoo’s companies pocketed over US$3.7 million or some GHC 21.6 million by inserting themselves as middlemen between COCOBOD and DOW. 

In 2018, COCOBOD contracted Agri-Plus a company owned by the relative Aidoo Jnr., the close relative of the COCOBOD CEO. The contract was for the supply of 75,000 litres of a cocoa insecticide called Transform Akate Insecticide from a UK-based company called DOW Agrosciences Limited (DOW). The amount stated per litre for the contract is US$103.5/ litre, which will amount to a total of US$7.76 million.

However, Agri-plus went ahead to sub-contract the juicy deal to a Mauritius-based company called Aedis Holding Limited (AEDIS). The contract sum quoted for Aedis was US$ 80.8 per litre of the cocoa insecticide, causing Agri-plus to pocket some US$ 2.5 million from skimming off the about US$ 23 per litre on the 75,000 litres of insecticide.

Consequently, Aedis received US$5, 4 million from Agri-Plus, but paid Dow, the supplier of the insecticide only US$ 4.03 million. The means Aedis also pocketed about US$1.37 million along the payment chain.

Incidentally, Agri-Plus and Aedis belong to Joseph Aidoo Jnr. According to the investigations by FIC, Aidoo’s companies pocketed over US$3.7 million or some GHC 21.6 million by inserting themselves as middlemen between COCOBOD and DOW. 

Investigations were triggered when Standard Chartered Bank in the UK detected disparities in the prices quoted for the same batch of insecticide and mounted an investigation that uncovered the massive corruption and money laundering within the transaction chain.

“On 20th July 2018, Standard Chartered Bank UK confirmed 

transferrable letter of credit valued at US$5,340,000.00 issued by Ecobank Ghana Limited on behalf of Agri-Plus Horizon Farms Limited (AGRI-PLUS), supposedly for the shipment of 76,640 litres of Transform Akate insecticide (priced at 69.68 US$ per litre) to Aedis Holdings Limited (AEDIS), Mauritius with supporting invoice from AGRI-PLUS,” FIC wrote in the report saying that on September 12, 2018, Aedis went on to issue a letter of credit for valued at US$ 4.03 million with the insecticide priced at US$55.17 per litre instead of the earlier price of US$69.68 per litre.

The disparities in prices of the insecticide were what triggered suspicion in the Standard Chartered Bank systems “SCB, UK discovered disparities between the prices per litre of the said insecticide in the invoices (US$69.68 to AEDIS as against US$ 55.17 to DOW),” FIC reported.

Curiously, Agri-Plus was incorporated on August 1, 2017, shortly after Joseph Boahene Aidoo was given the COCOBOD appointment. Also, Aedis was incorporated in Mauritius in September 2018, on the exact day that COCOBOD boss gave the mouth-watering contract to his relative.

Also, tracking of Agri-Plus accounts shows that in less than one year, between October 2018 and May 2019, COCOBOD had credited over GHC 35 million into the account of Agri-Plus limited. 

It is believed that this amount accrued from similar nepotistic transactions undertaken between COCOBOD’s CEO and his relative’s company within the period.

“In view of the uncompetitive nature of the award of the contract, and the purported establishment of another entity (AEDIS) by Aidoo Jnr. To mediate the transaction between Agri=Plus and DOW, we suspect that Agri-Plus and AEDIS may be engaged in trade-based money laundering (Over Invoicing),” FIC concluded in its report and recommending that the COCOBOD Boss and the entire management of state cocoa marketing company should be investigated.

Meanwhile, COCOBOD today released a press statement denying that Joseph Seth Aidoo Junior was a relative to the CEO of COCOBOD, saying the CEO 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 son OF Hon. Joseph Boahene Aidoo nor are they related in any way.”

Aside from the strange coincidental similarities in the names and the fact that the entire operations of the said Joseph Aidoo Jnr. started as soon as the COCOBOD CEO, Aidoo got his appointment, it gets even weirder that the press statement issued by COCOBOD, conveniently refused to address the obvious case of thievery between Agri-Plus and Aedis amounting to some GHC 21 million in the particular contract for DOW’s insecticides.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here