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General News of Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Source: Starrfmonline.com

NDC spent $450m on fictitious cocoa roads – Afriyie Akoto

The Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has revealed that the erstwhile Mahama-led administration spent over $450million on fictitious cocoa roads in the country.

According to him, former state officials used the cocoa road project to enrich themselves.

In an interview on the Morning Starr Wednesday, Dr. Afriyie Akoto told host Francis Abban that all those road contracts awarded under the previous government have been terminated.

“I mean we stopped the cocoa road constructions which was full of corruption…people were given contracts for 32km [of road], they do 2km and they come in to be paid [for] 32km and they are paid and people share those monies,” he said.

“These are bare corruption…in three years they claim they spent $450million on cocoa roads and where are the roads?” Dr. Afriyie Akoto asked.

“So now we’ve suspended all those [contracts]; that’s savings that we are making. We are also looking at input prices that suppliers give us so that we can cut it back so that we can sustain the price at where it is.”

In June this year COCOBOD suspended the much criticized construction of cocoa roads after an interim audit revealed a lot of discrepancies in the project.

Chief Executive of COCOBOD Joseph Boahen Aidoo disclosed that over 230 different road contracts were awarded under the previous regime to the tune of over GH?3.5billion, way above the financial muscle of COCOBOD.

He explained that the preliminary audit revealed outrageous cost components of most of the contracts.

“We are just suspending the project to make way for a comprehensive audit which will give us a clearer picture because we need to protect the public purse especially money coming from the sweat of modest cocoa farmers “, he reiterated.