Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, says the government is investigating how an amount of $1.8 billion dollars secured for the 2016/17 cocoa purchases was utilised.
“As at January 2017, the $1.8 billion had been fully drawn and utilised when only 587,125 metric tonnes of cocoa had been purchased,” he said, adding that the mystery surrounding the exhaustion of the funds would be made known to Ghanaians in due course.
Mr Aidoo, who was speaking at a press conference, said the government was saddled with a debt of GH¢19.6 billion after taking over in January 2017.
Touching on the producer price of cocoa, Mr Aidoo said the government had kept faith with the Ghanaian cocoa farmer to sustain their livelihoods by maintaining the producer price at GH¢7,600 for the 2017/18 season, which represents 83 percent of the gross Free on Board.
Mr Aidoo said the price was maintained despite the drastic decline in cocoa prices on the international market.
The price of cocoa on the international market has witnessed a dramatic decline to a ten year low of $1,900 from $3,000 per tonne in recent months, forcing some countries to reduce the producer prices paid to farmers.
Mr Aidoo accused the previous management of undertaking actions, which were inimical to the development of the cocoa industry and causing huge losses to the Board.
He said, for instance, the Board lost $750,000 in 2015/16 season by trading in options while price discounts were given on cocoa sales for Cocobod’s failure to honour contracts on due dates resulting in loses.
“The price discounts, which were executed at the blind side of appropriate approval channels, resulted in the loss of $12.4 million to COCOBOD,” Mr Aidoo said.