Cocoa farmers across cocoa-growing regions have commended the new management and Board of Directors of Kuapa Kooko Limited (KKL), as well as Kuapa Union, for instituting measures that protect the interest of cocoa farmers.
According to them, the measures are reassuring and guarantee farmers hope for a brighter future.
The commendation of the farmers follows the arrest and detention of Eric Fiifi Cudjoe, District Manager of KKL at Akontombra in the Western Region, for allegedly embezzling GH?4.8 million (GH?4,850,700), belonging to the company.
The money was to be used to purchase 10,212 bags of cocoa beans.
Cudjoe was on April 6, 2018 remanded into police custody by the Ejisu-Juaben Circuit Court, presided over by Abdul Yusuf Assibey.
What encouraged the framers about the arrest was that the suspect, a relative of the president of Kuapa Kooko Co-operative Farmers and Marketing Union Limited (KKFU), the parent company of KKL, was not spared at all.
Managing Director of KKL, Samuel Adimado ordered the arrest of the suspect.
The money was transferred through the Association of Rural Bank (ARB) APEX Bank in Kumasi into the account of Cudjoe at the Amenfi Rural Bank Limited between September 2017 and February 2018.
Cudjoe has been accused of presenting false reports to the company concerning the purchases of the cocoa beans on numerous occasions.
But the cocoa farmers, who are overwhelmed by the situation looking at the relationship between Cudjoe and the president of KKFU, said the bold action taken by their leaders, including the president and the board, irrespective of blood relations, to stump out corruption has renewed their faith and confidence in their leaders.
“We are so amazed and pleasantly surprised about the courageous manner our lady leader and the management have taken to deal with the issue in a dispassionate manner devoid of fear and intimidation.
“This is worth commendation. Initially, we had doubts because in Ghana, when a relative of someone in high ranking position does something wrong, they treat that person with kid’s gloves, but management has blazed a new trail, proving us wrong.
“Their action is so reassuring that in them we see a better future for Kuapa Kooko. We now are confident that our little contributions accrued over the years will not go waste”, Agya Kwasi, a cocoa farmer in the Sefwi Akontombra area said.
“Now we the farmers are very confident and our trust has been boosted by the action of management. We want to thank them all for not allowing one person to embezzle that huge amount of money at our expense. This goes to prove that nobody can take us for a ride”, said Adwoa Adoma, another cocoa farmer at Ankaase in the Ashanti Region.
Appian Kwateng, member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of KKFU, lauded the board and directors, as well as management of KKL, for showing the way forward in handling such a dicey situation.
He lauded the co-operative efforts of the president of KKFU in dealing with the situation.
“What even amazes me is the fact that our president has never interfered in the process. She has really demonstrated that she does not condone corruption”, he noted.
Sampson Cobbina, Board Member of KKL, on his part, told the paper that their action should send a signal to the rest of the staff of KKL that they mean business and would not shield anyone.
He said the board has resolved to give all their support to management to stump out corruption from the company.
When contacted, the managing director of KKL, Adimado said his outfit was going to introduce electronic systems into their operations to track “everything that goes on in the company”, to boost confidence in their stakeholders.
“When we do this, it will be very difficult for anybody to steal from the company”, he noted.