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Weekly Round-up: Cocoa Sector Retrogression; Oye Lithur Gnashes Teeth as Pressure Mounts on Dame to Resign

In our weekly round-up, we summarize the top stories that made the headlines over the week.

There was an avalanche of news this week but a few not limited to them round up our week. For chocolate lovers, while prices continue to surge, the country also suffered a good amount of forex from cocoa with exponential export decline but a certain presidential candidate has other plans for the sector.

But the courts are back in the news, featuring the high court, the supreme court and the court of public opinion as Oye Lithur and Godfred Dame, both legal luminaries battle their cases respectively.

Cocoa, Cocoa Babies and Alan Cash’s Plan

Ghana’s cocoa export earnings fell dramatically, dropping by 49% to US$599.3 million in the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the Bank of Ghana.

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What’s interesting about the decline is the fact that there’s been an unprecedented increase in global prices of Cocoa from about $10,116.9 to $12,261 per tonne.

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Ironically, the significant rise in cocoa prices on the international market is attributed to a notable production decline in major producing countries like Ghana.

Climate change and related factors, such as unpredictable rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, have further exacerbated the situation. Droughts have left trees parched, while excessive rain has created breeding grounds for fungal diseases like Swollen Shoot, a devastating virus that spreads rapidly through plantations and ultimately kills cocoa trees, leading to significant drops in yield.

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Like clockwork, the ripple effect is been felt on the market with chocolate prices souring amid the market turmoil.

The prices of these savouries have made them increasingly unaffordable for many lovers. Currently, a bar of Ghana’s popular Kingsbite chocolate sells for ¢32 for 100g and ¢18 for 50g. In January 2024, these same bars were priced at ¢15 and ¢8- ¢10, respectively, marking an increase of about 100% in just five months.

The price hike affects not only retail consumers but also wholesalers.

But in an attempt to salvage the situation and perhaps get things back running, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) plans to borrow up to $1.5 billion by September to finance 2024/25 cocoa purchases and offset low output, with production expected to rebound to 810,000 metric tons next season.

However, in a contrary promise, the man who was recently the Trade Minister of the current government, now Founder and Leader of the Movement for Change, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, has announced plans to abolish Cocoa Syndication Loans in favour of local currency securities if elected president in the 2024 general elections.

Oye Lithur’s Suit Dismissed but Dame’s Persists as President Ndoum Goes on Nationwide Tour.

This week saw an itinerary of court cases making the news. In the High Court, Justice Rev. Joseph Owusu-Adu Agyemang told the former Minister in charge of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Oye Lithur, that he didn’t find any action of defamation in the allegations made against her ex-partner, Tony Lithur.

The former minister of state was seeking redress for alleged defamatory statements made against her in a divorce petition, which she claims has maliciously harmed her image and professional standing.

Ghana’s attorney general, Godfred Dame has come under immense pressure since the third accused in the ongoing ambulance saga testified that the AG coerced him to implicate the leader of the minority faction in parliament, Ato-Forson.

The Arise Ghana group, for instance, has referred to the AG as Minister for injustice, citing his alleged misconduct in the NDC audio conversation involving Dame and Richard Jakpa in the ongoing ambulance purchase trial.

A former Director General of the Ghana School of Law, Kwaku Ansa-Asare, has also asked the AG to resign and save face. He motioned Godfred Dame to resign on moral grounds to safeguard his reputation, which has been built over the years.

In line with the ongoing trial, Mr Jakpa has filed a motion with the court to dismiss the case brought forth against him by the AG. He argues that Godfred Dame’s charges and proceedings constitute an abuse of court processes and violate Ghana’s constitutional obligations.

In an interesting twist of events, hours after ace media broadcaster, Paul Adom Otchere hinted at a possible live telecast trial request by the AG, the first accused was reported to have petitioned the Chief Justice to allow full media coverage of his trial with businessman Richard Jakpa, following recent disturbing allegations of witness tampering against the Attorney-General, Godfred Dame.

Away from the courts, the President of Groupe Ndoum is embarking on a nationwide tour, this time, he isn’t canvassing votes to become president of Ghana but to have his bank’s license reinstated.

He was in the Eastern Region on a reassurance visit to the various shareholders of his defunct GN Bank. He stressed that the #BringBackGNBank movement is a collective effort towards promoting local economic growth and development and a repeat of a similar national tour that happened in 2018/19.

Made for the Bar but Ended up Setting the Bar so High

Back to the legal space but this is dedicated to the triumphs and victories of the minority in society. Ama Governor made the last but not the least of our weekly highlights.

When a certain Hajia Sidiru petitioned the Ghana Legal Council to not roll call the young brilliant Governor to the bar, a deadly precedent was set and a young lady’s dream of becoming a lawyer was drawn back.

However, after two years of debating the ethos of the legal profession and going back and forth on who qualifies to be a lawyer, regardless of gender or sexuality, Ama Governor was finally called during a mini bar this week.

While you're here, we just want to remind you of our commitment to telling the stories that matter the most.Our commitment is to our readers first before anything else.

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