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Opinions of Sunday, 10 March 2013

Columnist: Antwi, William

RE: Cocobod’s Diabolical Conspiracy.....

.... Against AF CONFIDENCE – A Revolutionary Local Organic Product!!!!!!!.

Our attention has been drawn to a scandalous news item carried by JoyFM last Friday, February 23, 2013 on their flagship program, News Night, condemning our product, AF CONFIDENCE. We have since learnt that Dr. Richard Anthony Cudjoe, head of Entomology of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, hereinafter called CRIG, Mr. Noel Amenya, Public Affairs Officer, COCOBOD and Mr. Ahmed Mohammed, President of Cocoa Growers Association, featured prominently on that program with the sole intention of practically destroying without any basis the hard earned reputation of our company and its revolutionary product, AF CONFIDENCE. We think that it is fair and prudent that our side of the story is heard.

Indeed, it is mind blowing that COCOBOD had launched this brutal frontal attack on our product, AF CONFIDENCE, at a time when we are still communicating with the same COCOBOD to resolve whatever outstanding disagreement that exists between us. Needless to state here that we are confounded by the underhanded tactics being employed by COCOBOD to discredit our company and its revolutionary product, AF CONFIDENCE. We detest this dark conspiracy against our company and its breakthrough organic fertilizer product, AF CONFIDENCE.

We must make it abundantly clear that we are not going to relent in our pursuit of justice in this serious national matter. In other words, we are not going to be intimidated by this media blitz in light of the fact that we have the truth on our side. We are going to use all legitimate means at our disposal to obtain certification for our product, AF CONFIDENCE. Be assured that at the end of the process, not only will cocoa farmers and the country going to be the winners, truth shall stand tall.

The poignant question that continues to agitate our minds is: What prompted COCOBOD to mount this suicidal press onslaught on this fantastic and revolutionary local product when they know perfectly well that their decision to discontinue further testing on it HAS NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS?

It is imperative to state at this juncture that our company truly understands and appreciates the overwhelming need for the Ghana Cocoa Board to religiously and aggressively protect the cocoa industry for the simple reason that cocoa is not only the lifeblood of our economy, it also ;provides certain flow of income for thousands and thousands of our country folks. No wonder, the government continues to spend millions and millions of dollars on insecticides and fertilizers as a viable and healthy way of increasing production while improving the high quality of the end product, namely, the cocoa bean. It is in view of this that any product designed to help augment cocoa production and the quality of our cocoa beans must go through rigorous testing before it is certified by the Board.

CRIG’S MIND NUMBING AND EMBARRASSING MISTAKE!!!!!!

Fully cognizant of the above, our company sent its product, AF CONFIDENCE, to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, CRIG, for critical testing and analysis with the view of getting it certified as an organic fertilizer. By a letter dated February 11, 2013 and signed by the Executive Director of CRIG, Dr. F.M. Amoah, COCOBOD informed us that CRIG has discontinued testing of our product because “chromatographs indicated the presence of Chlopyrifos and Lambda-cyhalothrin both of which are not approved for use on cocoa”. To buttress their case, COCOBOD, attached copies of some test results they allegedly did on our product, AF CONFIDENCE. For your convenience and to assist further interrogation of this serious national matter, we have attached copies of the said letter and the test results for your perusal and study. We have marked them as EXHIBIT A, B, C, D, AND E. Please pay particular and critical attention to the highlighted portion of these exhibits. They loudly and boldly tell the nation that the test results and analysis are for “AS CONFIDOR” and not our product, “AF CONFIDENCE”.

In fact, a casual scrutiny of the test results supposedly conducted on our product by Ghana Standard Authority clearly undermines the integrity of CRIG’s recommendation. Strikingly, CRIG used the test results of a different product, “AS CONFIDOR”, to recommend the discontinuance of testing of our product, AF CONFIDENCE.

It is worth noting here that we immediately responded to COCOBOD’s letter of February 11, 2013 drawing their attention to a grave error on the face of the record. Please see our letter marked here as EXHIBIT F.

In abject contempt of our letter, EXHIBIT F, Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, Deputy Chief Executive (A&QC), wrote to us reiterating COCOBOD’S untenable position as revealed in their letter of February 11, 2013 – EXHIBIT A. Again, for your convenience, we have attached a copy of Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah’s letter of February 19, 2013 and marked it as EXHIBIT G.

We immediately responded to Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah’s letter – EXHIBIT G – the following day, February 20, 2013. We have attached our response and marked it as EXHIBIT H. Again, we meticulously laid out and addressed the issues drawing his attention to EXHIBIT F. Strangely, we have not heard from COCOBOD, since. Rather, they have taken to the airwaves to discredit us and our revolutionary product.

AF CONFIDENCE’S DEFINING CHARACTER – EXPOSING CRIG!

To put this great matter of our time in perspective, it is eminently important to place on record that we have done our own independent investigation into our product by sending samples of AF CONFIDENCE and the cocoa beans produced as a result of using it to credible and reputable local and international testing laboratories. In fact, these credible and reputable testing bodies have confidently certified AF CONFIDENCE as a breakthrough for the cocoa industry. The results indicate NO TRACES OF ANY BANNED SUBSTANCE, including, but not limited, to Chlopyrifos and Lambda-cyhalothrin.

Please note that these are the same banned substances that were allegedly found in AF CONFIDENCE. That is why it came as a shock when CRIG boldly stated that our product is not “organic after all” in spite of uncontroverted test results in our possession.

Ironically, Ghana Standard Authority, the same testing body that CRIG says undertook the testing of our product is among the three reputable testing bodies that did the test on our product and the cocoa beans produced thereof. How ironic! The other two reputable bodies are:

1. National Nuclear Research Institute AND

2. SASB of South Africa.

For your convenience, we have attached copies of all the test results and analysis of our product and cocoa produced, therefrom, for your perusal and study. We have marked them as;

EXHIBIT Iverifying QUALITY EVALUATION OF SOIL FERTILIZER:

EXHIBIT Jverifying QUALITY EVALUATION OF ORGANIC INSECTICIDE FERTILIZER (AF CONFEDENCE)

EXHIBIT Kverifying TEST RESULT OF FERMENTED DRY COCOA BEANS

EXHIBIT Lverifying TEST RESULT OF COCOA BEAN (ORGANIC EXTRACTS)

EXHIBIT Mverifying DILUTION EFFECTG OF AF CONFIDENCE

AND

EXHIBIT Nverifying DETERMINATION OF PESTICIDE RESIDUES Against this backdrop, isn’t it embarrassing and shocking that CRIG had the professional integrity to discontinue further testing of our product and boldly stating that AF CONFIDENCE IS NOT “ORGANIC AFTER ALL”? Yes, what credible scientific evidence are they predicating their decision on?

THE DARK CONSPIRACY

The irresistible question is: What is motivating COCOBOD to mount this needless and vicious attack on AF CONFIDENCE in light of these scientific results? Are they doing this because this amazing product is the brainchild of a hardworking and enterprising Ghanaian? Your guess is as good as ours!

In view of the stark fact that CRIG made a fatal error on the face of the record, we invited CRIG, to provide us copies of all test results of our product, AF CONFIDENCE. Please see EXHIBITS F AND H. Interestingly, as at the time of writing this petition, neither COCOBOD nor CRIG had responded to our letters demanding copies of all the test results and analysis they have done on our product. More particularly so when COCOBOD is fully aware that the test result they sent to us is bogus.

In light of the above, we are wondering aloud, why COCOBOD rushed to the media when they know that they have a terribly bad case against our company and its revolutionary product, AF CONFIDENCE?

The only sane reason why we had not gone to the press with this serious and sensitive national matter was that we did not want to embroil COCOBOD in any scandal because we are sensitive to the naked fact that cocoa remains the backbone of our economy. This tactically and eloquently explains the reason behind our decision to engage COCOBOD in a manner that is professional, honest, fair and transparent. Isn’t it mindboggling, then, that COCOBOD threw the mandates of fair negotiations to the dogs when they sent three of their top men to town to do their hatchet job on us and our revolutionary product? Yes, this is a flagrant abuse of the negotiating process and we strongly believe that the reputation and professional integrity of those behind this scandalous decision to go to the media will be in tatters at the end of this process.

We had expected COCOBOB to wait until we resolve all outstanding matters between us before going to town with this sensitive matter. We fervently believe that COCOBOD made a terrible blunder because what this had done is to compel us to defend our company’s integrity and its wonderful product against this brutal and unprovoked attack. We know that those behind this embarrassing media blitz are desperate to cover up their diabolical plans by conjuring and contriving tales and documents. We hope that at the end of this national exercise, they would muster the courage, decency and civility to apologize to New Okaff Industries Ltd.

GHANA CALLS!

We would crave your indulgence for a few more minutes. The frank question we must ask ourselves is: How do we expect to develop our nation in a healthy manner if professionals managing vital state institutions like CRIG are allowed to sabotage the honest and innovative ideas by gifted Ghanaians like Mr. Adjei Frimpong? Are we to believe that we live in a country where it is now a crime to come up with such a revolutionary product like AF CONFIDENCE despite the President’s much touted policy of encouraging local enterprise? All that COCOBOB had done is to try and kill this great product and dampen the spirit of great minds like Mr. Adjei Frimpong. What is even more disheartening is the sad fact that they are treating this great mind as if he is common criminal!!! THE REAL CHALLENGE At this juncture, we are throwing a challenge to any state institution worth its salt to test AF CONFIDENCE with any of the imported agro-chemical products to establish their respective strengths and efficacies vis-à-vis AF CONFIDENCE. We have done our test and we know the results. Truly, truly the results will so embarrass and scandalize the whole of the agricultural sector of our economy and some of the professionals who manage these vital state institutions!!!

CONCLUSION

In light of the above and in the name of transparency and integrity of the process and our desire to see that Ghana benefits from this great, revolutionary product, we are as a matter of right demanding that:

1. We get copies of all test results and analysis done on AF CONFIDENCE. And

2. A high powered investigation launched into the circumstances under which COCOBOD nearly succeeded in killing this revolutionary product that is not only going to empower our hard working but under-appreciated cocoa farmers, but augment cocoa production and improve the quality of our cocoa beans. We are emboldened in our demand because we share the President’s vision for the nation as captured in His Excellency’s memorable 2013 State of the Nation address. In all seriousness, how can His Excellency put “people first”, build a “strong and resilient economy”, “expand infrastructure” and enhance “transparent and accountable governance” if professionals and managers at CRIG fudge such material issue if our time?

Let the truth be told here: We cannot develop in peace and harmony and achieve President’s vision for the country if we allow such reprehensible conduct on the part of our managers of vital state institution to go unpunished. The time has come for us as a people to stand up for the truth no matter who is involved because the nation’s interest should always stand supreme.

In short our national interest should reign supreme in this serious and sensitive national matter.

God save us all.

Respectfully submitted. Yours faithfully,

WILLIAM ANTWI, ESQ. ATTORNEY – NEW OKAFF INDUSTRIES LTD

CC: THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, GHANA COCOA BOARD

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, GHANA COCOA BOARD.

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, FLAGSTAFF HOUSE

CHAIRMAN OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, PARLIAMENT

HONORABLE HUMADO, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE

HONORABLE SETH TEKPER, MINISTER OF FINANCE THE PRESS