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Shake-Up At Cocobod After Opuni   
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There is an ongoing clean-up at the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) where dismissed Chief Executive Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni allegedly supervised widespread malfeasance.

Top managers at Cocobod have been asked to proceed on leave; and the directive was reportedly issued by Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto.

Already, President Akufo-Addo has fired Dr. Opuni, but the government is determined to clean up both Cocobod and Cocoa Marketing Company Limited, who have purportedly contributed to the dwindling fortunes of the cocoa sector.

Those to proceed on leave include Deputy Chief Executive (Finance & Administration), Deputy Chief Executive (Agronomy & Quality Control), Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) and the  Director of Finance.

The rest are Deputy Director of Finance, Deputy Director of Audit, Director of Civil Works and the Procurement Manager.

At the Cocoa Marketing Company Ltd, the Managing Director (MD), Deputy MD, Director Legal Services, Deputy Director and the Finance Director have reportedly been asked to go home.

Under Opuni, workers were dismissed and transferred ‘by heart’ according to sources

Cocoa Sector Rot

A source has already described the rot in the cocoa sector as very ‘awful,’ as people were reportedly awarded contracts without laid-down regulations and fertilizers purportedly smuggled to neigbouring countries for individuals’ interest.

Already, unionized workers in the cocoa industry are calling for investigations into alleged dubious deals by the sacked CEO and his officers.

The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) and the General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) alleged that Dr. Opuni sold some of the cash crops and kept the proceeds and according to them, such deals had cost the country in excess of $10 million, adding that the monies could have been used to develop the country.

Fierce Fight

Kingsley Nkansah, General Secretary of GAWU, in April last year, disclosed at a meeting with journalists that “Thousands of tonnes of cocoa are sold by the management of Cocobod which is hidden from the government and for which no proper accounts are maintained either. This is known as Special Sample Residue.”

He continued, “The Special Sample Residue is done by drawing an average of 0.3kg of cocoa beans from each bag taken over and sold by the Cocoa Marketing Company. So for every 1,000 tonnes of cocoa, they (management) get on the average 4.6875 tonnes, an equivalent of 75 bags.”

No Action

The workers claimed that information on the underhand dealings at Cocobod was passed on to the former Employment and Labour Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, and the former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, as well as the former Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), but all to no avail.
Source: Daily Guide

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