‘Opuni approved use of harmful chemicals’ – COCOBOD investigative report alleges

‘Opuni approved use of harmful chemicals’ – COCOBOD investigative report alleges

An investigative report compiled by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is alleging that former CEO of the Board, Dr Stephen Opuni, breached procedure and caused scientists to approve harmful chemicals for release onto the market.

The report claims the $19 million agro-chemicals approved for sale by Agricult Ghana Limited were harmful to humans, animals and hazardous to water.

Experts are warning the revelation could endanger Ghana’s cocoa sector.

The report was compiled by an investigative committee that was tasked with looking into the activities of the COCOBOD, the main institution that facilitates the production, processing and marketing of cocoa, coffee and shea butter in Ghana.
Investigators found that officials at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana allegedly compromised scientific testing and issued certificates for cocoa fertilisers that had not gone through the full trial process.

Among others, the investigative committee also found that some of the chemicals had been diluted with other substances and did not meet the required standards following testing by the University of Ghana and the Ghana Standards Board.




In the case of Lithovit fertiliser which is produced by Agriclut Ghana Limited, the report concluded that the sample is harmful to human, animal as well as hazardous to water.

Despite the danger, the agro-chemical presented to the cocoa sector, Dr Opuni in a letter dated February 25, 2014, requested Agriclut to give prices for 700,000 litres of the fertiliser when it had not been tested and approved.

The former CEO went ahead to sign a contract for the supply of the fertilisers at a cost of $19.25 million in March 2014.

Meanwhile, some farmers who spoke to Joy News say the fertilisers did not work when they used them last year.

The committee recommended the cancellation of the contract and that the former COCOBOD CEO and two principal scientists are recommended for investigations by state security agencies.

Source:Myjoyonline



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