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Fact check: Who started awarding the cocoa road projects: Kufour or Mahama?

Credit: constructionreviewonline.com 3 mins read

The Public Affairs Manager of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Fiifi Boafo, has said that the awarding of cocoa road contracts began under former president John Agyekum Kufour.

True. The awarding of contract started under the Kuffour government under the Cocoa Roads Improvement Project (CRIP)

Full Text

Former President John Dramani Mahama has claimed that the Akufo-Addo led administration has spent a whooping US$10 million to conduct an audit report on cocoa road projects that was started under his administration.  

According to him, it was an inexcusable move by the Akufo-Addo administration to ‘abandon’ the cocoa roads project upon assumption of office in 2017.

But the Public Affairs Manager of the Ghana COCOBOD reacting to the claims on CitiTV’s Point of View segment on Youtube October 5, 2020  said:

“It is inaccurate to claim that President Mahama began the awarding of cocoa road projects. Construction of cocoa roads is actually something that started under President John Agyekum Kufour and it’s not an innovation that started under John Mahama. The awarding of cocoa road contracts rather continued under President Mahama and it is still ongoing under President Akufo-Addo.”

Meanwhile, the minority members in Parliament have also claimed the former president, John Mahama, did indeed start awarding cocoa road projects which they also say have been abandoned by the governing Akufo-Addo government.

Additionally, some cocoa road projects under the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration are currently being investigated by the Ghana COCOBOD under the Akufo-Addo led administration.

“There is no evidence that there was any wrongdoing in cocoa roads under former President Mahama. There is nothing proving that any procurement was done wrongly because Section 40 was adhered to,” Ranking Member on Parliament’s Transport Committee, Kwame Agodza told JoyNews in an interview on October 5, 2020.

Verification

To ascertain the veracity of the claims, our checks revealed Former President John Agyekum Kufuor in February 2008 launched the Cocoa Roads Improvement Project (CRIP)

The project was intended to improve arterial roads from Accra to the neighboring countries of Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso.

An amount of US$100 million dollars was made available that year [2008] to tar some selected roads in six selected cocoa growing areas and US$200 in 2011.

“Work is on-going in various Metropolises, Municipalities, and district capitals to reduce traffic congestion, improve public transportation and support economic activities. Accra is a typical example of these -Nkrumah Circle-Ofankor; Tetteh Quarshie-Aburi; Mallam-Kasoa and all over the country,” President John Agyekum said on February 14, 2008. 

President Kufour at the time added that since he assumed office in 2001, over 1,000 kilometres of feeder roads had been surfaced nation-wide, about 4,800 kilometres had undergone rehabilitation, 10,000 kilometres had undergone spot improvement, while 2,300 kilometres had been re-gravelled.

In 2015, the programme was relaunched as the Cocoa Roads Rehabilitation Programme under former President John Dramani Mahama during a working visit to the Ashanti and Eastern regions.  

The US$750 million programme under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government was meant to fill the gap in road infrastructure in cocoa-producing areas in Ghana and was said to be the single biggest road infrastructure project to be financed by the Ghana Cocoa Board. 

Spanning over five years, COCOBOD put aside part of its profits of US$150 million every year for five years to finance the reconstruction of selected roads in cocoa-growing areas. 

Some of the road projects earmarked were in the Asamakese-Suhum; Adeiso-Asamankese; Osenase–Akwatia; Koforidua–Bunso; Apedwa-Kyebi–Bunso and Kyebi town roads.

Other projects were the rehabilitation of Suhum town roads, construction of selected roads at Asamankese, and bitumen surfacing of Noyem-Winso-Amuana–Praso, Mangoase–Kukua, Chia-Brenase–Ofoase, and Akim Sekyere-Abekoase roads.

In all, a total of 628.70 kilometers of roads had been earmarked for construction under Phase 1 of the project as at October 2015.

Conclusion

The claims made by the Public Affairs of the Ghana COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, are accurate and do not contain any element of parody or satire. 

The reporter produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Ghanaweb to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.

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