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Business News of Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Ignore sale of WAMCO assets - COCOCBOD warns

Regulator of Ghana’s cocoa industry, COCOBOD has cautioned the general public to ignore an advertisement put up by Fidelity Securities Limited (FSL), on the sale of assets of West African Mills Company Limited (WAMCO), located in Sekondi/Takoradi in the Western Region.

According to COCOBOD the sale is illegal and must be ignored. A statement issued by the public affairs department of COCOBOD and copied to Citi Business News said ‘COCOBOD hereby informs the general public that the purported attempt to sell the assets of WAMCO is without its knowledge, consent and approval and should be ignored’.

COCOBOD further warned that it cannot be held liable for any transaction with FSL.

‘Consequently any person or institution that enters into such a deal, would be doing so at its own peril’. The statement further clarified discussions around the liquidation of the company’s assets has not been concluded.

‘At a meeting of the shareholders, it was agreed that WAMCO should be liquidated. Whilst the majority opted for private liquidation, COCOBOD opted for official liquidation, which, in its considered view, would ensure transparency and value for money. The issue regarding the nature of the liquidation has therefore not been resolved and same is outstanding’.

WAMCO is jointly owned by Hamester (which holds 60%) and COCOBOD (the minority shareholder with 40%).

WAMCO is reported to be indebted to COCOBOD of an amount of USD49.5Million in cocoa beans supplied over the years according to the regulator.

Earlier the Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Noah Amenyah confirmed to Citi Business News that government has commenced processes to liquidate the assets of the West African Mills Company Limited to turn around the fortunes of the company which is currently reeling under huge debts.

“As at 2003, WAMCO owed COCOBOD over 32 million dollars. Currently, it owes 49.5 million dollars. COCOBOD cannot continue to give cocoa beans to WAMCO to process and not pay and as at now once they owe us we have stopped supplying them for some time now,” Noah Amenyah further noted.

Challenges that have confronted WAMCO which operates on a Public Private Partnership, have adversely affected production levels for some time now. The development has also compelled the company to shut down its operations as it has been difficult to defray its accumulated debts.