NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC Congress (NDC) Chairman for Sissala East, in the Upper East Region, Baku Rafik, has been arrested over alleged missing bags of fertilizers under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
Some staff of the Sunyani Municipal Assembly are also reportedly under investigation for the disappearance of several bags of subsidized fertilizers which had been stored at a warehouse in Sunyani, the regional capital of the Brong Ahafo Region.
The case is currently before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, DAILY GUIDE has gathered.
Ministry of Food and Agriculture made this known in response to media reports on the alleged missing of $12 million worth of fertilizers under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
In a statement, the Ministry debunked the media report describing it as “totally false.”
It had been reported that nearly 50,000 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer worth $12 million meant for the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs program have gone missing.
The missing fertilizers were said to have been smuggled to Burkina Faso and Togo, with media reports citing the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture (Food and Cocoa Affairs).
But the Ministry has come to dismiss the media report, saying “the impression being created that the amount of $12 million said to be losses incurred as a result of smuggling of fertilizers under the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme is totally false.”
It said “the Ministry wishes to place on record that the report is factually inaccurate and does not represent the true information presented to the Committee by the Sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, during a budget hearing.”
According to the statement by the Ministry, “what the Minister said during the budget hearing was that over the years the country had not been able to quantify in monetary terms the actual losses being incurred as a result of fertilizers being smuggled outside Ghana to neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Togo.”
It added that “the Minister then went ahead to explain that under the current administration, efforts had been made to quantify the cost which amounted to about $12m dollars, which translates into about 50,000 metric tonnes.”
The statement noted that “it is therefore factually inaccurate, the impression being created through the publications that the said amount covers a specific year under review or strictly limited to the PFJ programme.”
“It is instructive to note that under the current administration, stringent efforts have been made to curtail the unfortunate incident which had become the norm in the previous years.”
It indicated that “references can be made of some staff of the Sunyani Municipal Assembly who are under investigation for the disappearance of several bags of subsidized fertilizers which had been stored at a warehouse in Sunyani.
Also, in the middle of this year, about 50 trucks of fully loaded fertilizers, which were allegedly being smuggled to neighbouring Burkina Faso, were also impounded in the Upper West Region.
The Ministry therefore wishes to reiterate that all efforts are being made to nip the vicious activities of these fertilizer smuggling cartels in the bud.
“We therefore appeal to the general public to cooperate with us by reporting any act of suspicion for the necessary action to be taken,” the statement added.
BY Melvin Tarlue