The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has reacted to allegations of nepotism, corruption and money laundering leveled against it in the Agri-Plus deal.
In a press statement dated Tuesday, November 17, 2020, signed and issued by the Head of Public Affairs, Mr Fiifi Boafo, COCOBOD debunked the allegations.
Some documents said to be from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and which were reportedly sent to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), on the matter have been released on social media.
It is said to be findings after investigations into contracts awarded to a newly formed company, Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited.
It alleges that FIC's investigations revealed that Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited was awarded a contract for the supply of 75,000 litres of Transform Akate Insecticide at a price of US$103.5 per litre amounting to a total of US$7,762,500.00.
The contract was said to be a sole sourced one to the company through the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).
Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited is said to have also sub-contracted the contract at US$80.80357 to Aedis Holding Limited (AEDIS), a company reportedly owned by one Joseph Seth Aidoo Jnr.
There are allegations that Joseph Seth Aidoo Jnr is the son of the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Aidoo.
AEDIS is also said to have further subcontracted Dow Agrosciences Limited (DOW) Limited, a company based in UK to supply the said insecticide.
It is based on this that COCOBOD has reacted to the allegations.
Read a copy of COCOBOD's reaction below
RE: ALLEGATIONS OF NEPOTISM, CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING AT GHANA COCOA BOARD
Our attention has been drawn to a document circulating on several online and social media platforms purported to emanate from the Financial Intelligence Centre, Ghana, which alleges wrong doing by COCOBOD awarding a contract for the procurement of Transform Akate Insecticide from Agri-Plus Horizon Farm Limited through the sole sourcing method.
The document further alleges that there is suspicion that the decision by COCOBOD to sole source the contract to Agri-Plus may have been founded on the grounds of nepotism and / or trade based money laundering.
We wish to state that the decision to sole source insecticides and other chemicals for COCOBOD operations is based on COCOBOD’s need for specific purposes. COCOBOD only procures insecticides or chemicals that have been tested and certified by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).
It should therefore be noted that different insecticides have different active ingredients (the killing agent), different levels of concentration of active ingredients, different rates of applications per hectare of cocoa farm and different manufacturing sources.
Some products have systemic effect while others take effect on contact with the insect. Some products are also formulated as cocktails and have both systemic and contact properties combined.
A company that holds the CRIG certificate for a particular product has proprietary right in the product and consequently COCOBOD can procure the product from only that company.
At the beginning of each crop season COCOBOD decides on the various insecticide and chemicals to be procured for the season based on the projected threats to the crop for that year. The insecticide application is varied periodically to reduce the chances of the insects developing resistance to a particular insecticide.
In the case of Transform Akate Insecticide mentioned in the document, Agriplus Horizon Farms Limited is the company that holds the CRIG certificate for the product.
Approval was, therefore, sought from the Public Procurement Authority to procure the product amongst others through the sole sourcing method for COCOBOD’s operations.
We wish to state categorically that the suspicion that the decision by COCOBOD to sole source the contract to Agri-Plus may have been founded on grounds of nepotism is completely baseless and untrue.
The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo 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 a son of Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo nor are they related in any way.
We therefore urge the general public not to give the allegations contained in the said document any weight.
HEAD OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS