ARMAJARO Ghana Limited, a licensed cocoa buying company, is to collaborate with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to embark on a massive anti-smuggling campaign in the border areas through the mass media to educate the people on the evils of smuggling.
The Board Chairman of Armajaro, Mr Fred Quaynortey, who disclosed this in Kumasi, said the company was religiously following a policy of zero tolerance for smuggling and would work with other interested organisations to protect the cocoa industry.
Mr Quaynortey stated this at a ceremony to reward the company’s District Manager for Elubo, Mr Daniel Ibrahim Bepoh, for rejecting a bribe from investigative journalist Anars Armeyaw Anas, to take part in a smuggling activity.
He was presented with a plaque and an undisclosed amount of money for his singular act, which the company saw as a sign of commitment to the growth of the company and the cocoa industry in Ghana.
Very early in the course of the 2009/2010 main crop season, there was an alarming rate of smuggling of cocoa from the country along the western border.
As part of moves to combat the situation, a team led by Anas undertook an undercover exercise to expose elements engaged in the smuggling.
In the course of the exercise, Mr Bepoh was one of the people who were lured with cash in a bid to get him to release cocoa to the undercover agents.
He refused the enticement and further made sure that the undercover agents were arrested.
At a brief ceremony in Kumasi to honour Mr Bepoh, the board chairman said whilst Mr Bepoh exhibited sincerity in his work, his counterpart at the company’s Enchi “C” District was alleged to have been caught in the smuggling activities and had consequently been interdicted.
“I am not surprised that Mr Bepoh did not fall for the lure to smuggle cocoa, because he reflects the true Armajaro spirit of loyalty, moral consciousness and sincerity,” he said.
He said the company was perhaps the only one in the country that paid farmers above the minimum price set by the government for farmers for their produce and that for the just ended main crop season, it paid in excess of GH¢252,000 to its farmers.
The board chairman further stated that the company had in partnership with COCOBOD and some chocolate manufacturers invested about GH¢1.3 million in water, sanitation, healthcare and other infrastructure projects in under-privileged communities in the cocoa-growing areas.
He indicated that during the year, the company had pre-financed farm inputs at subsidised rates for farmers to the tune of GH¢1.6 million.
Mr Bepoh, for his part, thanked the company for recognising his sincerity and pledged to show even more commitment to the industry in the years ahead.