According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the idea that former president John Mahama established a fund for a pension plan for cocoa farmers is a fraud.
No fund was established, and no money was set aside, claims Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
On Wednesday, Asunafo South MP Eric Opoku mentioned that Mr. Mahama set aside GHS28.9 million as seed money for the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme, for which the government claimed credit. Opoku was speaking at a seminar for cocoa farmers in the Ahafo area.
”The Mahama administration left Ghc28.9 million as seed money for a cocoa farmer pension scheme before leaving office, but the current administration has misappropriated the money and continues to claim to have introduced the scheme,” he told the farmers.
However, the COCOBOD CEO denied the allegations on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen program.
“There was no money in the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme, as the NDC and former President Mahama claim. The amount was only stated in a ledger, but there was no real money.
“How come no farmer was engaged or heard about it? I dare the NDC to come out and tell us which bank they deposited the money to and the name of the fund,” he said.
Mr. Aidoo said the Auditor General’s findings on the pension fund is difficult for him to comprehend and that if there was anything to be bought, the late former President Mills should be given credit for the idea.
“The Auditor General used a ledger from 2011 so why is the NDC not mentioning Atta-Mills? We didn’t even know there was a ledger until it was discovered when the auditors came. So there was no account,” he added.
The CEO was hopeful that the program will be implemented effectively because the present government had already made considerable progress.
“When I came, there was no database of farmers but we instituted the cocoa management system through which 790,000 farmers have been captured.
“Out of this number, 100,000 have been enrolled on the scheme and we hope to get everyone onboard by the end of the year. We also hope to have about GHS74 million cedis in it,” he noted.