Cocobod speaks on Armajaro affair

… Clears John Mahama

John Mahama

THE VICE President, John Dramani Mahama, has been exonerated from allegations that he interfered in the lifting of a ban placed on licensed cocoa buying companies, especially, Armajaro (Ghana) Limited, from operating in the western corridor of Ghana.

According to the management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Vice President had nothing to do with the lifting of the ban and that the decision itself was consistent with the articles of the Cocobod.

A press statement signed by the Public Affairs Department of the COCOBOD yesterday, stated that at no point in time did Vice President John Dramani Mahama interfere with, or show any interest whatsoever, “in this matter, as is being alleged in certain quarters.”
The Vice President has since been under serious attack by sections of the public, accusing him of twisting the arms of the COCOBOD in favour of Armajaro Ghana Limited.

According to COCOBOD, following the release of a video footage by an investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, depicting the clandestine activities of a cocoa smuggling syndicate, involving some agents of Messrs Armajaro (Ghana) Limited, Transroyal Ghana Limited and Diaby Limited, the management of COCOBOD decided to impose an indefinite ban on the three companies from operating in certain areas within the Western Corridor with effect from 16th April 2010.

The statement continued that following various appeals from the affected companies and their farmers, the Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Department of COCOBOD was directed by management to undertake an exercise to ascertain the level of compliance of the three companies to the ban.

According to COCOBOD, the outcome of the exercise indicated that the affected companies had respected the ban, and had gone a step further, by organising seminars on anti-smuggling for their field staff.

“Management further noted that the continuous existence of the ban would negatively affect the companies’ staff, who operated in districts in the Western Corridor, but were not involved in the perpetration of the act. It was further noted that the ban had adversely affected the provision of communal projects initiated by some of these companies in districts where the incident did not take place.”

Recalling the events, the statement averred that the investigative journalist, who did the undercover investigations, paid glowing tribute to a member of the staff of Armajaro Ghana Limited, describing him as “a clean Armajaro worker.”

This particular worker had reported the movements of the undercover agents to the police, suspecting them to be smugglers.

To the COCOBOD, “In the light of the above, and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, management decided to recommend to the Board of Directors for the review of the ban,” explaining that, “At the Board of Directors meeting held on Tuesday, 28th September, 2010, the Board of Directors directed that the ban placed on the three companies from operating in the Western Corridor of Ghana be lifted in all the areas, except the districts where the video footage captured the involvement of their agents.

The statement stressed significantly on the Articles that govern the functions of COCOBOD. “It is significant to note that Article 3.8 subsection 2 of the Sanctions for the Malpractices in the Internal Marketing of Cocoa, prescribes that “The affected company shall be ordered to withdraw its operation from the district in which the incident occurred for one crop year.”

The latest action by COCOBOD, in limiting the ban to the affected districts, is, therefore, consistent with the above-mentioned Article.

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