Thursday, 18 November 2010

Political fallout from cocoa trading dispute

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has denied that Vice President Mahama intervened to lift a trading ban on one of the world's richest cocoa traders. Anthony Ward's company Armajaro Holdings was banned from trading along with two other companies following allegations that one of its contractors had been smuggling cocoa out of Ghana into Côte d'Ivoire.

The UK Sunday Times reported that Ward appealed to UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell to intervene in the dispute. Following that communication, the newspaper claimed, Foreign and Commonwealth Office official Henry Bellingham lobbied Vice President Mahama and the ban was subsequently lifted.

However, in a press release issued in Accra on 8th November, COCOBOD said that the decision to lift the ban had been taken after hearing appeals from the three companies involved, as well as from local cocoa farmers.

COCOBOD took the decision, the statement asserted, because the three companies had respected the ban and had organized anti-smuggling workshops for their employees. A continuation of the ban, COCOBOD said , could have impacted negatively on local cocoa farmers, company employees and community projects.

The statement stressed that, “ at no time did the Vice President H.E. John Dramani Mahama interfere with or show any interest whatsoever in this matter as is being alleged in certain quarters.”

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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