General News of Monday, 8 October 2018
Despite the fiery denial by Deputy Agric Minister, Kweku Baako and Andrew Agyapa Mercer seem convinced by the Minority’s claim that the Agric Minister has put in a request for a building under renovation by COCOBOD.
They are not the only ones to lend support to the claim as comments by a member of the Majority and Chairman of the Agric Committee of Parliament, Kwame Asafo Agyei, also suggest the Board of COCOBOD has given approval for the one-storey apartment at Ridge, to be given to the Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
“I have investigated this [and] I believe the house that they are discussing was approved by the Board of COCOBOD and the manager is implementing the decision by the Board,” the Committee Chair, who is also the representative for Nsuta-Kwamang-Beposo told Joy News.
It follows a revelation by Minority spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Forson that COCOBOD officials had told the Finance Committee of the House that, the said bungalow, which is one of the many being renovated, is to be given to the Agric Minister as his official residence.
The former Deputy Finance Minister had also claimed that COCOBOD had budgeted about a million Ghana cedis to restore the dilapidated property to a good shape.
But the Deputy Agric Minister, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, earlier this week denied the claim by the Minority insisting, there was no evidence of such request by his Minister whom he said, resides in his plush East Legon property.
He repeated his position on Newsfile on Joy News TV, Saturday during a telephone interview. “I can tell you on authority that they are not renovating any property for the Minister and if the Minister needs a place to reside, it is the responsibility of government to provide a place for the minister to stay,” Osei Nyarko told host of the programme, Samson Lardy Anyenini.
But governing New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentarian for Sekondi, Andrews Agyapa Mercer says the Committee chair’s comment suggests “to me that the Minister has requested for a house”.
“In the absence of further clarity I would go with Ato Forson,” Mercer said in support of the opposition but rejected their allegation that the refurbishment costs COCOBOD some GH?1million.
The argument by Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako also tilts to the direction of the Minority.
“If I balance the two, I think that the Deputy Minister has a huge challenge in terms of credibility relative to this issue…,” the veteran journalist said after connecting the statements by the Minority spokesperson and that of the Chairperson of the committee.
Baako’s worry, however, is the attempt by the Minority to suggest that the huge amount being spent by the COCOBOD to renovate its properties, is the reason producer price for cocoa was not increased this year by the government.
“Ordinarily it shouldn’t be,” he advised.