The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has said it has observed with worry the continuous discussion of a portion of the 2018 Auditor General’s report by the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in the media and subsequent reportage on his commentary.
Mr Ablakwa had in a Facebook post, raised concerns against the amount of money being paid as allowance of the Board of Directors at CCOBOD.
“Discussions on government expenditure cuts must assume a much broader scope. Take the Ghana Cocoa Board which somehow managed to make massive losses of GH¢320.6million in the 2019 financial year; strangely, its Board of Directors have decided to pay themselves: Board of Directors Fees, Sitting Allowances, Inconvenience Allowances and Overnight Allowances.
“Why should it ever be an inconvenience to be called to serve your country? Should that not be the greatest honour? In any case, who put a gun to anybody’s head to accept an appointment to the Ghana Cocoa Board? Also, what animal is Overnight Allowance?
“The Auditor-General has described these fees and allowances as illegal because the Finance Minister has not granted approval as required under Section 9(6) of the Ghana Cocoa Board Act of 1984 as amended; sadly though, the looting continues. In only one financial year, the taxpayer was billed GH¢656,200.00 for this unpatriotic illegality,” he said.
But responding to him, COCBOD in a statement on Tuesday April 26 said “Even though Parliament as an institution is yet to consider the report, the MP has resorted to discussions on the matter and in some cases making non-existing inferences from the report, only to mislead the listening and reading public.
“We wish to clarify the following: The Board of Directors in 2017 upon swearing-in, inherited the Board’s Fees and Allowance regime.
This became the basis for the payment of allowances to members of the Board.
“On the issue of Inconvenience Allowance, members were paid a tax-inclusive amount of GH¢ 1,500 for off-site meetings. The Ministry of Finance later issued a new remuneration regime which did not include Board Fees and Inconvenience Allowances.
“COCOBOD in compliance with the new regime has since stopped the payment of Board Fees and Inconvenience Allowances. We shall continue to comply with the Board’s remuneration regime as directed by the Ministry of Finance.”