Prime News Ghana

Opuni challenges COCOBOD CEO over empty coffers claims

By primenewsghana
facebook sharing button Share
twitter sharing button Tweet
email sharing button Email
sharethis sharing button Share

The former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni has flatly dismissed allegations by his successor, Joseph Boahen Aidoo that COCOBOD was facing significant financial challenges when he (Boahen Aidoo) assumed office in January 2017.

Dr. Opuni has therefore challenged Mr. Boahen Aidoo to publish the audited financial report of COCOBOD through documentary evidence that there was no money, to enable the public to ascertain the true state of affairs at COCOBOD at the time.

“It is trite knowledge that before you secure any loan, you need to show your audited financial statement, therefore if Joseph Boahen Aidoo wants Ghanaians to know that he inherited a broke institution, he should make COCOBOD’s audited financial statement for 2016/2017 financial year public to back his claims,” Dr. Stephen Opuni is quoted to have said in an interview at his office on Thursday, June 13, 2024.

Mr. Boahen Aidoo, in an interview with Accra-based Joy FM on June 12, 2024 claimed that “They bought about 600,000 metric tonnes before we came in. With cocoa, the peak harvest period is October, November, December, and January.

So within the first quarter of the season, from October to December 2016, the previous administration bought over 600,000 metric tonnes. When we assumed office, there was no money, meanwhile, we had to buy cocoa till the end of the season from January to September (2017)”.

However, Dr. Stephen Opuni says Mr. Boahen Aidoo’s claims cannot be correct.

According to him, although COCOBOD secured a 1.8 billion dollars syndicated loan, it was used to take care of COCOBOD’s activities from October 2016 to September 2017 cocoa crop season, part of it Joseph Boahen Aidoo conceded was used to purchase the over 600,000 metric tonnes.

According to Dr. Opuni, COCOBOD sold forward a little over 600,000 tonnes of cocoa at a value of 2,993.60 dollars per tonne, which was used as a collateral to secure the 1.8 billion dollars syndicated loan from banks in Europe and other parts of the world.

“Just multiply USD 2,993.60 by the over 600,000 stated by Mr. Boahen Aidoo and you would come to the realisation as at January 2017 COCOBOD had already bought enough cocoa from our cocoa farmers to pay off the 1.8 billion dollars syndicated loan COCOBOD secured,” Dr. Opuni said


Available records show that, even after buying the over 600,000 metric tonnes between October and December 2016 as mentioned by Boahen Aidoo, as at January 2017, Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) still had some of the monies COCOBOD had advanced to them, which they were expected to use to buy more cocoa for Ghana Cocoa Board.


According to Dr. Opuni, during his tenure as Chief Executive at COCOBOD, from January 2014 to early January 2017, COCOBOD secured syndicated loans on three occasions (2014/2015,  2015/2016, 2016/2017) at a cost of about 1.5% for each loan.

There was always the option to go back to the syndicated banks for additional loan of about 200 million US dollars if COCOBOD realised that there was more cocoa to be bought.

This, according to Dr. Opuni, was more prudent to take a loan at a cost of about 1.5% instead of going for a loan from the local banks at a cost of 30 percent or more.

It is therefore strange that the current management of COCOBOD under Boahen Aidoo, instead of taking advantage of the 200 million dollars option from the syndicated loan banks, always resort to the local banks and the central bank. This is nothing short of gross financial mismanagement.

Dr. Opuni said “From January 2014 to early January 2017, COCOBOD after taking the syndication loan, never took loans from the Central Bank/ local banks to undertake any COCOBOD activity.”


According to the Reuters news agency, COCOBOD is unable to deliver 350,000 tonnes of cocoa to its clients abroad who already have contracts with COCOBOD.

These cocoa contracts are thought to have been done by COCOBOD and those clients at USD2,600 per tonne.

Meanwhile, the current world price of cocoa is above USD 9,000 per tonne. This means in the future, if COCOBOD is to deliver the 350,000 tones to their clients, Ghana is going to lose about USD 6,000 or more per tonne of cocoa.

Ghana therefore stands to lose about USD2 billion because COCOBOD is unable to deliver its current contracts of about 350,000 metric tonnes of cocoa.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s cocoa production continues to decline.


A global data and business intelligence platform, Statista gives the breakdown of cocoa production in Ghana in metric tonnes from 2014 to 2024 as follows:

Cocoa Crop Year Production in Metric Tonnes
2013/2014 896,220
2014/2015 740,254
2015/2016 778,044
2016/2017 969,511
2017/2018 904,739
2018/2019 811,747
2019/2020 766,977
2020/2021 1,047,000
2021/2022 683,000
2022/2023 654,000
2023/2024 Projected at 500,000


COCOBOD’s annual report and financial statements presented to Parliament show that COCOBOD is in dire financial crisis.

Cocoa Crop Year Losses in Ghana Cedis
2016/2017 395 million
2017/2018 78.2 million
2018/2019 320.6 million
2019/2020 426 million
2020/2021 2.4 billion
2021/2022 3.3 billion
2022/2023 4.2 billion
2023/2024 Projected 2.6 billion



Source: The Herald