Sammy Gyamfi, a ranking member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), called out Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), for allegedly spreading false information about the seed funds allocated by the NDC/Mahama government for a pension scheme aimed at benefiting cocoa farmers.
The verbal confrontation between the two has sparked a heated debate regarding transparency and accountability in the cocoa industry.
The dispute originated when Aidoo claimed that the current government had introduced a pension scheme for cocoa farmers.
Gyamfi quickly corrected him, stating that it was, in fact, the previous NDC/Mahama administration that had set aside approximately GHS 28 million cedis as seed funds for this purpose.
In response, Aidoo not only called Gyamfi a liar but also resorted to personal insults, questioning the intelligence of the NDC member and challenging him to reveal his source of information.
Gyamfi, undeterred by the insults hurled at him, cited the 2020 Auditor General’s report as his source, which he claimed contained evidence supporting his assertion.
Aidoo, in an attempt to discredit Gyamfi, challenged him to pinpoint the specific section of the report that validated his claim. He even offered to provide airtime for Gyamfi to prove his point or forever remain silent.
Keeping his word, Gyamfi presented what he described as undeniable evidence to support his factual assertion. He referred to pages 253, 254, and 255 of the “Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Ghana – Public Boards, Corporations, and Other Statutory Bodies for the year ended 31 December 2020.” These pages, according to Gyamfi, clearly substantiated his claim.
Responding to Aidoo’s counterclaims, Gyamfi dismissed the CEO’s arguments as baseless and unconvincing. He emphasized that his initial assertion focused on the NDC/Mahama government’s allocation of GHS 28 million in seed funds for the cocoa farmers’ pension scheme.
He also criticized Aidoo’s understanding of financial matters, particularly his dismissal of the funds as mere ledger entries. Gyamfi argued that if the funds were not genuinely set aside between 2013 and 2016, they would not have been recorded in COCOBOD’s ledger.
The ranking members also highlighted paragraph 1254 of the 2020 Auditor General’s report, which contradicted Aidoo’s claim that the funds were only ledger entries.
The paragraph stated that the GHS 28,898,676.88 had been set aside for contributory insurance during the period between 2013 and 2016, and that COCOBOD management intended to establish a separate investment for this purpose.
Gyamfi questioned Aidoo’s credibility, pointing out the inconsistency between the CEO’s assertion and the response provided by COCOBOD’s management to the Auditor General. He argued that if the funds were mere ledger entries, as Aidoo suggested, then why did the Auditor General find evidence of their allocation from COCOBOD’s profits during the specified period?
Gyamfi concluded that Aidoo’s statements were not only ridiculous but also indicative of his mismanagement of COCOBOD.