The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) and the Industrial Commercial Workers Unions (ICU), have launched a scathing attack on the leadership of COCOBOD, accusing its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Stephen Opuni of presiding over corruption.
GAWU and ICU say corruption at COCOBOD, headed by Dr. Stephen Opuni is affecting the production of cocoa in the country.
“The corruption going on in the COCOBOD under Dr. Stephen Opuni must be exposed as a matter of citizen responsibility. It is important not to personalize this issue. We don’t have any personal problem with Dr. Stephen Opuni. In doing things that are not right, he has not respected the labour laws of this country. We have talked about that in our press conference held about a week ago.”
“In addition, we are saying that the corruption is bringing the cocoa industry down and the cocoa industry is the most important segment of the economy and for that matter we cannot sit down unconcerned,” the General Secretary of GAWU, Kingsley Offei Nkansah stated at a press conference in Accra on Friday.
While calling for investigations into allegations of corruption levelled against Dr. Opuni and COCOBOD, Mr. Nkansah indicated that the ICU and GAWU will continually fight to ensure that the canker is dealt with.
“We are asking for investigation into matters that we have laid bare. We are saying that this is just the beginning and we will continue and mobilize and fight on because it is in the interest of the people of this country and not only ICU and government. We are trade unions who are very serious about the rights of workers. We are opposed to anything that divides the ranks of working people and makes the organization of workers weaker. “
Meanwhile staff of COCOBOD have jumped to the defence of their Chief Executive Officer. According to them, Dr. Opuni has not caused any disaffection within the ranks of COCOBOD as ICU and GAWU are alleging.
Apart from accusing Dr. Opuni of being corrupt, the two labour unions alleged that he had influenced staff of the company to breakaway from the two unions.
Staff of the company have served notice of withdrawing from the two unions, citing a growing mistrust between workers of COCOBOD and the unions.
But speaking to Citi News, the Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of COCOBOD, Aljahi Iddris Alhassan said Dr. Opuni had no hand in the aggrieved workers’ decision to break away.
He believes GAWU and the ICU were falsely accusing Dr. Opuni in a bid to get him dismissed. According to him, workers conditions and salaries have improved tremendously under the CEO.
“Opuni is only someone no one can push around on principles. What they were doing was only to get the public outcry and support and then getting us the workers to agitate and demonstrate for him to be removed.”