Chief Executive of COCOBOD Joseph Boahen Aidoo (L), Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, former COCOBOD CEO (R)

The former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, has broken his silence over the state of affairs at the institution he led for four years during the Mahama administration.

He flatly dismisses claims by his successor, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, that he inherited empty coffers in 2017.

Three days ago, Mr Boahen Aidoo insisted that COCOBOD was facing significant financial challenges when he assumed office in January 2017.

But Dr Opuni, who has been silent since leaving office some seven years ago, has returned fire, challenging Mr Boahen Aidoo to publish the audited financial report of COCOBOD by way of documentary evidence that there was no money.

There are also claims of a handing over note from Dr Opuni to Boahen Aidoo, which paints a different picture from the current COCOBOD boss’s claims.

This, among others, the born surgeon reckoned would 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 Opuni was quoted to have said in a statement issued by his office yesterday, 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, on June 13, 2024, Dr Opuni exposed the falsity of Mr Boahen Aidoo’s claim using his own words.

Although COCOBOD secured a 1.8 billion dollar
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 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 dollar 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 realization as of January 2017, COCOBOD had already bought enough cocoa from our cocoa farmers to pay off the 1.8 billion dollar syndicated loan COCOBOD secured,” Dr. Opuni said.

Available records show that, even after buying over 600,000 metric tones between October and December 2016, as mentioned by Boahen Aidoo, as of January 2017, License 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 the cost of about 1.5% (one and a half per cent) for each loan.

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

According to Dr Opuni, it was prudent to take a loan at 1.5% (one and a half percent) instead of going for a loan from the local banks at 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 dollar option from the syndicated loan banks, always resorts to the local banks and the Central Bank.

This is nothing short of gross financial mismanagement.

Dr Opuni said on authority, “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 independent sources at COCOBOD, the Boahen Aidoo-led administration has been taking loans from the Central Bank/local banks after securing syndication loans.

Apart from 2017, when, according to Boahen Aidoo, they took a 2 billion Ghana Cedis loan from the Central Bank, they continued to take more loans from the local banks as well as the Central Bank in subsequent years – 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2023/2024 at a higher cost of about 30 percent after securing the syndicated loans.

No wonder COCOBOD’s indebtedness to the local banks in Ghana is about 20 billion Ghana Cedis.

For instance, while available records show that under Dr Opuni, COCOBOD was taking a syndication loan at 1.5% (one and a half percent), the current COCOBOD management under Boahen Aidoo took a syndicated loan of 800 million dollars in 2013/2024 at 8 percent, showing lack of confidence in COCOBOD’s financial credibility.

According to Reuters News Agency, COCOBOD is unable to deliver 350,000 tonnes of cocoa to their clients abroad who already have contracts with COCOBOD.

According to reliable sources, these cocoa contracts were 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 that in the future, if COCOBOD is to deliver the 350,000 tones to their clients, Ghana is going to lose about USD 6000 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, cocoa production under the management of Joseph Boahen Aidoo 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:

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

  1. 2013/2014. – 896,220
  2. 2014/2015. – 740,254
  3. 2015/2016 – 778,044
  4. 2016/2017 – 969,511
  5. 2017/2018. – 904,739
  6. 2018/2019 – 811,747
  7. 2019/2020. – 766,977
  8. 2020/2021. – 1,047,000
  9. 2021/2022. – 683,000
  10. 2022/2023. – 654,000
  11. 2023/2024. – Projected at 500,000

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

Cocoa Crop Year. Loses in Ghana Cedis

  1. 2016/2017 – 395 million
  2. 2017/2018 – 78.2 million
  3. 2018/2019 – 320.6 million
  4. 2019/2020 – 426 million
  5. 2020/2021. – 2.4 billion
  6. 2021/2022 —- 3.3 billion
  7. 2022/2023 — 4.2 billion
  8. 2023/2024 — Projected 2.6 billion