General News of Saturday, 10 November 2018
Police in the Upper East Region have arrested the Sissala East Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Baku Rafik for his alleged involvement in the distribution and sale of fake subsidized fertilizer coupons under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, to farmers in the Upper East and Upper West regions.
Baku Rafik, a known fertilizer distributor in Upper West region, was arrested in Bolgatanga on Thursday November 8, 2018, following a tip-off by a staff of Food and Agriculture Ministry in the Upper East Region.
He is reported to have issued over 5,000 fake subsidized Planting for Food fertilizer coupons to unsuspecting farmers who are in need of the fertilizer for their farms and later presented same coupons to the suppliers for claims.
Following recent detection and reports that some fertilizer distributors were issuing fake coupons, the acting National Director of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Seth Akoto, asked that, an investigation be conducted into the case across the country. It was during the investigations that Baku Rafik and a local distributor of one of the companies that have been contracted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to supply organic fertilizers to farmers, came up as suspects behind the fake coupons.
Since that information, Baku was kept under the spotlight for some time till he was found out and arrested when he allegedly attempted to recruit a new partner for possible expansion of the business to Bolgatanga municipality.
It is reported that a security expert, (name withheld) feigned interest in the fertilizer distribution and sought the assistance of Mr. Baku to partake in the fertiliser business.
The NDC chairman obliged and allegedly promised to supply the undercover agent with fake coupons to also start his business. The two met on Thursday morning as agreed on earlier, but Baku Rafik had the shock of his life when he realized but rather too late that he was busted.
He was quickly arrested and was transferred to the headquarters of the National Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service in Accra.
Mr. Baku’s arrest came a few weeks after the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto visited the three northern regions and pledged a crackdown on unscrupulous elements sabotaging the government’s flagship programme.