Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, has said criticisms levelled against him following his public announcement of the salary of the state body’s immediate past Chief Executive Officer, Dr Stephen Opuni, is unfair.
According to him, the salaries of Article 71 office holders, including that of the COCOBDO CEO, the president and all his ministers, Members of Parliament, and others are already in the public domain, therefore, it was not out of place for him to have publicly indicated how much Dr Opuni was earning as salary.
Mr Owusu-Agyemang, had said the GHS75,000 salary of Dr Opuni was “unthinkable” and the new board would review it.
“For me, it is absolutely unthinkable that the gross salary of the Chief Executive Officer should be in the neighbourhood of GHS 70,000 to GHS 75,000 a month, and the net is about GHS 55,000 to GHS57,000 a month. If you even discount this by 50 per cent, it would still be higher than anybody under Article 71 of the constitution,” he told Accra-based Citi FM.
He wondered why cocoa farmers were not benefitting from the proceeds of their work but managers were rather enriching themselves with the sweat of farmers.
But in a subsequent interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, on Accra100.5FM on Wednesday 29 March, Mr Owusu-Agyemang said he had received criticism from a section of the Ghanaian public for putting out somebody’s salary, but the flak against him was not fair.
“People called me asking me why I put somebody’s salary in the public domain but I explained that even the salary of the president is in the public domain. Everybody knows how much Article 71 holders are taking as salaries. How much John Mahama, Kufuor, and the rest took as salaries are all in the public domain. These are matters of public record and so it is no issue to attract the criticisms,” he said.