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Mahama: I didn’t influence lifting of ban on Armajaro

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Vice President John Mahama

Vice President John Mahama has denied influencing the lifting of the ban imposed on Armajaro, one of the three companies that were caught on tape by Ghana’s remarkable investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas involved in cocoa smuggling in the country, but admitted meeting a British minister who spoke to him about the ban.

News broke last week in the British media that a Conservative cabinet minister had intervened on behalf of Armajaro Holdings which is one of the world’s richest cocoa dealers to get a ban on trading lifted after receiving £40,000 in donations from the millionaire’s company to his parliamentary office.

Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, reportedly made the intervention after he was asked for help by Anthony Ward, whose firm, Armajaro Holdings, had been banned from trading following allegations that a contractor was involved in smuggling cocoa out of Ghana.

Henry Bellingham, a Foreign Office minister, reportedly lobbied Ghana’s vice-president on behalf of Armajaro Holdings following request by Mitchell to do so. A partial trading ban imposed on the company has now been lifted, although it remains in place in one district of Ghana, the reports added.

Mahama who spoke to Ghana Radio in a news bulletin Friday afternoon, November 5, 2010 and monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com admitted he has been spoken to about the ban and he advised that the company should petition the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) which it did.

According to the Vice President, the British minister spoke to him about the ban at a reception in Ghana.

The three cocoa marketing companies that were banned by the COCOBOD from operating along the country’s western corridor were Armajaro Ghana Limited, Diabe and Transroyal.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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One comment

  1. the brits still believe they can do what they like in Ghana and the lifting of a ban on this firm just foments this way of thinking. They firm should have being made to pay a fine along with a ban for a reasonable period.