Opuni’s assets frozen; EOCO probes his tenure at COCOBOD

Immediate past Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, has had his assets including his accounts, frozen by the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO), according to Citi News sources at the presidency.

Although reasons for the seizure have not been officially communicated, the sources have hinted Citi News that EOCO is seeking to investigate the entire period that Dr. Opuni served as CEO of that critical state agency.

Specifically, government intends to probe some supposed fraudulent multi-million dollar contracts he’s believed to have signed before leaving office, the sources indicated. It is also unclear for now; whether EOCO may have carried out this action based on a court order.

Mr. Opuni’s tenure was engrossed in several allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the cocoa sector, with his critics accusing him of running down the critical sector; which generates revenue for the country and employs millions of Ghanaians.

Dr. Opuni was on January 12, 2017, asked to leave office  barely a week after the new NPP government was inaugurated.

As a former CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Dr. Stephen K. Opuni was appointed by former President John Mahama on November 30, 2013, to head the COCOBOD.

He replaced Anthony Fofie, who headed COCOBOD from 2009.

Dr. Opuni’s ‘rot’ killing cocoa sector – GAWU alleges

In April 2016, the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), and the Industrial Commercial Workers Unions (ICU), launched a scathing attack on the leadership of COCOBOD, accusing its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Stephen Opuni of presiding over corruption.

GAWU and ICU said corruption at COCOBOD, headed by Dr. Stephen Opuni was affecting the production of cocoa in the country.

COCOBOD staff defends Opuni

But some staff of COCOBOD at the time jumped his defence, insisting that, Dr. Opuni has not caused any disaffection within the ranks of COCOBOD as ICU and GAWU were alleging.

The Staff of the company thus served notice of withdrawing from the two unions, citing a growing mistrust between workers of COCOBOD and the unions.

Opuni contributed to NDC’s defeat – Nukpenu

Dr. Opuni has also been criticized heavily by some persons in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), although he served in that party’s administration.

The Greater Accra Regional Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Anthony Nukpenu, in an interview with Citi FM on January 16, 2017, said Dr. Stephen K. Opuni contributed to the NDC’s defeat in the 2016 polls.

Mr. Nukpenu accused the former COCOBOD CEO of ignoring people who were not within his circles, making it difficult to engage him on matters pertaining to policy with some NDC members or stakeholders.

“People come across him in public settings or private settings and it is like he has a class of people he should deal with. If you don’t fall in that class, talking to him is a challenge.” “For example, I would not go to his office to seek for financial favours or contract favours. I may encounter a challenge in his field of work because I interact with downstream cocoa sector workers. If there is a challenge, I need to meet the CEO and lay it there. And if we find it difficult in meeting him then what are we doing as a government or as a party,” Mr. Nukpenu lamented.

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/