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31.03.2009 Business & Finance

Drama at CPC AGM

By gna
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Drama unfolded at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) when a man claiming to be a great grandson of Tetteh Quarshie, Nii Samoa Okropon of Osu Ashanti, hijacked proceedings and demanded recognition and payment of royalties for the descendants of Tetteh Quarshie.

Nii Okropon joined the queue of shareholders purporting to be a shareholder to ask a question, but events took a different turn when he claimed to be a descendant of the late Tetteh Quarshie, the man revered for bringing cocoa into the country, and spilled out his demands in an aggressive tone.

He noted that cocoa was the highest export earner and the biggest employer in the country yet neither Tetteh Quarshie nor his descendants, who lived in Osu in Accra, had duly been recognised.

“Lots of university infrastructure was built with proceeds from cocoa and lots of students have received cocoa scholarships yet none of the universities has named a hall after Tetteh Quarshie,” he said.

He also demanded that all state-owned cocoa-related organisations such as the CPC, Cocoa Board (Cocobod) should name halls in their premises after Tetteh Quarshie.

“We the descendants of Tetteh Quarshie are peeved,” he said.

But he attracted some verbal heckling from the shareholders when he demanded royalty for the descendants of Tetteh Quarshie, saying that “in the same manner as miners pay royalties to the communities within which they mine, we also deserve some royalties from the cocoa-related companies”.

A shareholder, however, called the meeting to order saying that the demands of Nii Okropon were misdirected because they were state matters and should be addressed to the government and not to shareholders of CPC.

There is a hospital at Mampong-Akwapim in the Eastern Region and an interchange in Accra named after Tetteh Quarshie.

After that drama was over, even more drama unfolded when Mr Godwin Avenorgbor, a popular broadcaster and a shareholder, took the microphone and described the whole AGM as poorly organised and cheap, amidst applause by shareholders.

Mr Avenorgbor pointed out that the venue for the AGM, Osu Presby Hall, was small and “non-dignifying” and that it was a mark of disrespect and cheapness and that shareholders who had invested their money to make the company run, were not served “water in this hot weather”.

He told the directors that he was ready to offer his services for free to ensure that next time round the AGM was better organised and shareholders were given a well deserved treatment.

Another shareholder observed that the dividend of GH¢0.0005 per share was “expensive and counter productive” to shareholders, saying with such a dividend his 4,000 shares would only gain 20Gp, which was less than what his bank would charge him as processing fee.

He therefore demanded, with instant support from other shareholders, that an extra box of Golden Tree chocolate for shareholders would have been better than the dividend declared.

Another shareholder complained that he bought 2.5 million shares in CPC several months ago but he still did not have his share certificate.

Another was harsh on the Board saying when the “herbalists in this country are doing a better job at marketing their products than CPC is doing; go to any shop on the streets and you hardly find CPC products but these herbalists are everywhere marketing their products aggressively”.

The shareholder called on management to be up and doing in the promotion of CPC products.

Meanwhile the production of CPC confectionaries for the local market

dipped from 1,120 metric tonnes in 2007 to 922 metric tonnes in 2008 due

to rehabilitation works at the factory.
But Mr Richard Amarh Tetteh, Managing Director of CPC, said local consumption of CPC products kept rising due to the recognition of the

health values of cocoa products.
He assured shareholders that in the coming years, CPC would take

advantage of the demand to promote the products more aggressively, saying

that the newly built Golden Tree Mart at the refurbished Cocoa House in

Accra was for that purpose.
“The company also plans to open a new sales depot in Tamale in

addition to the sales depots in Kumasi and Takoradi….”

The company chalked a gross profit of GH¢4,801,218, net profit of GH¢1,273,097 and paid dividend to the tune of GH¢550,413 representing

43 per cent of net profit.

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