The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) says it has observed with worry the continuous discussion of a portion of the 2018 Auditor-General’s report by the North Tongu MP in the media.

It said Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s non-existing inferences from the report, which have received several media reportage, are false and only meant to mislead the public.

Mr Ablakwa had, in a Facebook post dated April 12, raised concerns against the amount of money being paid as an allowance to the Board of Directors at Cocobod.

Among other claims, he said the Board of Directors for the 2019 fiscal year received a combined sum of ¢656,200 for allowances such as Board of Directors Fees, Sitting Allowances, Inconvenience Allowances and Overnight Allowances.

He also said that the Auditor-General (A-G) has described the fees and allowances as illegal because the Finance Minister has not granted approval as required under Section 9(6) of the Ghana Cocoa Board Act of 1984 as amended.

“Why should it ever be an inconvenience to be called to serve your country? Should that not be the greatest honour? In any case, who put a gun to anybody’s head to accept an appointment to the Ghana Cocoa Board? Also, what animal is Overnight Allowance?” Mr Ablakwa asked.

But a statement issued by the management of Cocobod has debunked the allegations, adding that it has stopped paying the said fees and allowances after the Finance Ministry implemented a new remuneration regime.

According to Cocobod, the Board of Directors in 2017, upon swearing-in, inherited the Board’s Fees and Allowance regime, which became the basis for the payment of allowances to its members.

“On the issue of Inconvenience Allowance, members were paid a tax-inclusive amount of ¢1,500 for off-site meetings. The Ministry of Finance later issued a new remuneration regime which did not include Board Fees and Inconvenience Allowances.

“Cocobod, in compliance with the new regime, has since stopped the payment of Board Fees and Inconvenience Allowances.

“We shall continue to comply with the Board’s remuneration regime as directed by the Ministry of Finance,” the statement issued on Tuesday, April 26, added.