COCOBOD Disrespects Akufo-Addo’s Ban On New Cars

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Buys Fresh 2017 V8 Toyota Land Cruiser For Hackman Owusu-Agyeman

Reports picked up by The Herald reveal that, the new management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has shown gross disregard to President Akufo-Addo’s freeze on the purchase of new cars by Ministries, Departments and Agencies by paying for a brand new 2017 V8 Toyota Land Cruiser for its powerful board chairman.

Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, is said to have demanded for the top of the range fresh V8 and got within days after taken over from Daniel Ohene Agyekum, as Board Chairman of COCOBOD.

The purchase of the car, has stunned many workers of COCOBOD. The price of the Land Cruiser, has been put at US$84,775 the equivalent of GH¢373,010 or ¢3.7 billion old Ghana cedis.

Features of Hackman’s Four-wheel Drive vehicle is said to include; 5.7L V-8 Engine, 8-spd auto w/OD Transmission, 5,600 rpm Horsepower, ABS and driveline traction control, 1st row regular express open/close sliding and tilting glass Sunroof, 18″ machined aluminum wheels, front air conditioning, dual zone automatic, Rear air conditioning with separate controls, Driver and front passenger heated-cushion, Heated-seatback and Heated front seats.

Reports from COCOBOD, claim that the man who made public the monthly salary of the former COCOBOD boss, Dr. Stephen Opuni, saying it was a toll on the taxpayer, had rejected a new 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser offered him by management, because it was not the latest edition.

He, therefore, demanded and got a new 2017 V8 Land Cruiser (tear rubber) costing US$84,775.

Many workers at the headquarters of COCOBOD in Accra, have been stunned by the purchase because of Hackman’s own demonization of Dr. Opuni over his monthly salary, even though it was based on a decision, reached by the management, board and approved by the Ministry of Finance, which previously had supervisory role over the board.

Unconfirmed reports, said Mr. Owusu-Agyeman, is acting more as an executive board chairman, having day-to-day administrative role over the management of the COCOBOD.

It was also reported that recently, the new Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, threatened to resign from his post due to interferences from the board led by the former Foreign Minister in the John Kufuor administration, but was prevailed upon to remain.

Hackman Owusu-Agyeman and Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, both lifelong friends of President Akufo-Addo, were said to have gotten Joseph Boahen Aidoo, a former Western Regional Minister in the Kufour administration the job.

Without the influence of the two powerful individuals, President Akufo-Addo, would not have appointed Mr. Aidoo, to COCOBOD; one of the most lucrative places to work.

Indeed, COCOBOD, was moved under the Ministry of Agriculture with Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, having a supervisory role over it.

It is not clear, whether Joseph Boahen Aidoo, was pressurized to purchase the new car for his benefactor and board chairman, Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman.

It is also unclear, if the Food and Agriculture minister, sanctioned the purchase of the car, despite the President’s ban on new cars.

“At 76, what else does this man want in life after all that he has gotten even as Minister for Foreign Affairs and later Interior in the Kufuor government? You reject a new car only, because it is 2016 edition and because it was not a ‘tear rubber’.
Yet, this is the same man, who was whining about the monthly salary of our former CEO. What kind of character is this? Is this not hypocrisy?” an angry worker of COCOBOD, said.

Reports indicate that, the ban placed by the president on the purchase of new vehicles by his appointees, is only a smokescreen. On the quiet, the appointees are buying new vehicles from different showrooms, especially in Accra, Tema and Kumasi.

Two months ago, President Akufo-Addo, placed a ban on the purchase of new vehicles by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

A letter written by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, dated March 21, 2017, said the ban holds until further notice. MDAs have been directed to make use of the “existing fleet of vehicles in their respective transport pools.”

Mrs. Osei-Opare, however, noted that in extraordinary circumstances, MDAs that want to procure new vehicles “shall seek for and obtain the prior express written authorization.”

The directive comes on the back of missing 208 state vehicles, which was blamed on officials of the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Speaking to the issue on Accra-based Joy FM on Monday, March 27, 2017, Deputy chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said the ban was necessary in order to channel the resources that would otherwise have been used for the purchase of vehicles into the implementation of government’s “ambitious” projects.

“Capital expenditure is used for purchasing vehicles, but in this budget, the president wants to spend it on the productive sector of the economy,” he said.

He said, the presidents wants the way things are done to be changed because the nation is living in extraordinary times. “These are not normal times,” he noted.

Mr. Abu Jinapor, said President Akufo-Addo, has been using a vehicle purchased in 2007, since his investiture and has not found the need to purchase a new one.

“That’s what he has been riding in [and] he is working to ensure that we management the resources of the country judiciously,” he added.

The deputy chief of staff, said until there was a review, the moratorium remains a policy of the Akufo-Addo led government.

 

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