15 Mar

Ghana Cocoa Board Former CEO Charged for Causing Losses to State

The former chief executive officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Stephen Opuni, has been charged for causing financial losses to the state during his tenure as head of the regulator, according to a justice ministry official.

The charges against Opuni, who was fired by President Nana Akufo-Addo in January 2017, were laid Wednesday at the High Court in Accra, the capital, Joseph Addo, a spokesman for the office of the attorney-general and the justice ministry, said by phone.

Several calls for comment to the mobile phone of Opuni didn’t go through.

Opuni allegedly agreed deals of 217 million cedis ($50 million) for the delivery of fertilizers from 2014 to 2016 with suppliers which he knew wouldn’t have been able to fulfill their contracts, Accra-based broadcaster Joy FM reported on its website, citing court papers that were signed by Chief State Attorney Evelyn Keelson on March 12.

Opuni also allegedly took an illicit payment of 25,000 cedis from one of the suppliers in October 2014, Joy FM reported.

Justice authorities brought the charges “because they believed there were infractions in the award of contracts during Opuni’s tenure,” Fiifi Boafo, a special assistant to current Ghana Cocoa Board CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said in a broadcast on Citi FM.

The charges follow as the year-old administration of Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party pledged to crack down on graft and hold public officials to account for the management of state funds during their tenure.

Opuni was appointed in 2013 by former President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.

The NDC said Wednesday that the charges against Opuni were made up, according to Joy FM. Ghana is the world’s biggest cocoa producer after neighboring Ivory Coast.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-14/ghana-cocoa-board-former-ceo-charged-for-causing-losses-to-state