COCOBOD Clarifies Weighing Scales Adjustment Saga
Dr Emmanuel Opoku addressing the media
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has described as belated a documentary by JoyNews in 2018 which sought to expose the tampering of cocoa weighing scales by licenced buying companies in Ghana.
According to COCOBOD, the documentary, albeit commendable, was belated and did not shed light on the measures which had so far been taken to address the problem after the film was produced.
Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in charge of Operations, Dr. Emmanuel Opoku, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, noted that COCOBOD had put in place a number of measures to stop the tampering of weighing scales within the cocoa sector in Ghana.
“A combination of immediate term punitive and preventive reform measures have been adopted to resolve the problem,” according to him.
Dr. Opoku said the tampering of weighing scales was one of the ills that the management of COCOBOD had already unraveled and was presently taking steps to address.
“Management takes this issue of weighing scale tampering very seriously and has on several occasions condemned the practice and similar acts, and at all times highlighted the consequential regressive impact they had on interventions that COCOBOD has put in place to improve the earnings and livelihoods of cocoa farmers,” he said.
According to him, following a preliminary inspection tour of LBC sheds, led by the Chief Executive of COCOBOD in 2018, management commissioned the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to perform a thorough inspection of all weighing scales used at LBC sheds (cocoa purchasing and weighing points) across the country.
“Based on the report from GSA, which found that the practice was systemic, management had settled on two solutions – one being a preventive reform measure and the other an immediate term punitive measure.
“The reform or preventive measure involves the introduction of GSA recommended electronic sealable weighing scales which meet a set of tamper-proof standards—so that scale adjustments will be a thing of the past. To provide the needed guidance and ensure the smooth rollout of this reform, the decision has been taken to import the electronic sealable weighing scales, starting this year, and distribute them at a cost to the LBCs,” he added.
Dr Opoku continued that COCOBOD had put in place a punitive measure to surcharge any defaulting LBC with the monetary equivalent of the aggregated weight from cocoa sheds across the country that the LBC in question might have short-changed the unsuspecting farmers once GSA confirms adjustment of such weighing scales.”
“Management of COCOBOD, after its own discovery and confirmation by GSA, held a meeting with the LBCs and informed them about the aforementioned measures and the sanctions thereof.
“Subsequently, various media reports, including one titled, “COCOBOD To End Cocoa Scale Tampering By Introducing Electronic Scales”, which is available on peacefmonline.com and another titled “Directive to use E-scales to weigh cocoa beans positive” by the Daily Graphic (graphic.com.gh), among others have cited the chief executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo and other members of COCOBOD’s management making public statements about the new measure to end scale tampering,” he said.
By Melvin Tarlue