Most of the Purchasing Clerks (PCs) from some of the Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies (LBCs) have capitalised on the ignorance of some farmers in the country, to cheat them in the payment of bonuses due them.
It is an accepted fact, that a higher percentage of cocoa farmers are illiterates and the situation therefore, provided an excellent opportunity for the PCs to make unnecessary deductions from the farmer's payments, thereby making handsome fortunes, GNA reports.
Mr Daniel Ohene, a prosperous cocoa farmer at Anum Apapam in the Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District, on Wednesday told the GNA that, purchasing clerks in the area had not disbursed farmers' bonuses to them, without any tangible reason.
Mr Ohene, whose farms are at Ebenezer, a village between Anum Apapam and Kofi Pare, wondered how other PCs carried “hanging scales” to the village to purchase cocoa beans, which were not thoroughly dried, but at the end of the cocoa seasons they could not be found to pay the bonuses.
According to him: "Those of us who thoroughly dry the beans to improve its quality and then transport it to the buying centres at Anum Apapam are also cheated through the adjustment of their scales, while they deny us of our bonuses too".
He noted that there was inadequate supervision on the PCs, adding: "I only see the External Audit Service people from COCOBOD and sometimes the Ghana News Agency interviewing the PCs and their District Officers on the disbursement of bonuses, a situation that sometimes forces them to pay for fear of being reported".
Mr Ohene called on the Government to be vigilant in the disbursement of the bonuses, because “the monies did not go to the right people, thus throwing away huge sums of money”.
During a discussion at a farmers rally at Gye Wani Nkwanta near Akim Oda and Breman Brakwa, the cocoa farmers expressed similar sentiments and appealed to the Government not to throw monies away, if it could not ensure that the bonuses reach the beneficiaries.
In a related development, farmers at Akroso in the Birim Central Municipality, who threatened a strike action for not receiving their 2006/07 bonuses, blamed the Government for the non-payment of their bonuses, because it pays the monies into wrong hands.
They warned that, henceforth, they would ensure that any PC caught exploiting them, by adjusting the weighing scales faces the full rigours of the law.