The board chairman of COCOBOD Hackman Owusu-Agyemang has disclosed proceeds from the cocoa syndicated loan for the 2016/2017 cocoa season has been misused by the former Mahama administration.
According to the former MP for New Juaben North, the development left many cocoa farmers unpaid for their produce over a period of time. Parliament in 2016 approved a loan facility of $1.8 billion for purchase of the produce.
However, speaking in an exclusive interview with Starr News’ Ibrahim Alhassan, Mr. Owusu-Agyemang said government has had to device some other means to pay the affected farmers.
“One thing that I need to put on record is the fact that the funds that were syndicated for the purchase of cocoa for the last season has completely been misused. And that’s why indeed they are supposed to have bought 830,000 metric tonnes of cocoa but as far as the figures show they only paid for 635,000 and that means that we have to find the money to pay for that quantity that has not been bought.
“And we have done everything possible to quickly pay the farmers and not delay the payment. I believe that the funds, the monies have been used in areas that in my view should have taken second, back seat because the first responsibility is to make sure that those who produce the cocoa are paid and on time,” Mr. Owusu-Agyemang noted.
The Minority in parliament has in recent times had issues with management of COCOBOD over sales of fertilizer which used to be given to farmers free, dismissal of some top management members and general handling of the sector by the Nana Addo administration.
The board chairman has dismissed those claims.