Even as snakes and other venomous reptiles take over the official Presidential Lodge at Bunso in the East Akim Municipality in the Eastern Region, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, is accusing former President John Mahama of influencing the reconstruction of an “unnecessary guest house” using funds belonging to COCOBOD.
The Presidential Lodge at Bunso, popularly known as Bungalow Number One and was under the supervision of the Eastern Regional Minister, was built by the colonial administration and it was used extensively by ex-President Hilla Limann and ex-President Jerry Rawlings during their official tours to the region.
The high-profile presidential lodge has been covered by weeds. The facility which has served the state at the highest level for decades, is currently in a deplorable state, has become a defecating site, refuse dump and dwelling place for rodents and reptiles, while the road to the facility is unmotorable, making life difficult for the managers.
The building has developed serious cracks and the roofs are leaking, making it uncomfortable for the personnel to manage it.
Meanwhile, the CEO of the COCOBOD is driving in an overdrive, accusing former President Mahama and the previous COCOBOD management of ‘reconstructing a guest house at Bole in the Northern Region, which was needless at the time it was awarded”.
He went further to state “President John Mahama was said to have influenced the award to enable him enjoy a comfortable holiday during his visit to his constituency,”
Speaking at a press conference to respond to allegations of mismanagement of COCOBOD by the Minority in Parliament, Mr. Boahen Aidoo, said the erstwhile administration of COCOBOD led by Mr. Stephen Opuni, rather misappropriated millions of cocoa funds on frivolous activities.
But residents in and around Bunso are questioning the wisdom in abandoning a state facility which has served numerous government officials since the pre-colonial period.
But there’s a twist to as to why it’s a complete mess and fast deteriorating.
The Bunso Cocoa College which belongs to COCOBOD (Which has now been taken over by the University of Agriculture and Environmental Studies) is the Presidential guest house of colonial architecture.
The property which is in Bunso Cocoa College where the University of Agriculture and Environmental Studies in the Eastern Region is located has taken over some of the landed properties of the Cocoa College at Bunso in the East Akim Municipality to accommodate its lecturers and students.
This major asset taken over by the university – owned by the Okyeman Council led by the Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who doubles as the Chancellor of the University – is the State Presidential Lodge at Bunso which is in a dilapidated state.
Some of the facilities at the College that have been taken over by the university are teaching facilities, quarters, chalets and some dormitories on the main compound.
According to sources close to Ghana Cocoa Board and the Cocoa College, the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council – headed by the Okyenhene – took over some of the properties during the President Mills’ administration after intense pressure, insisting that the lease period for the land housing the institute had expired.
The Bunso Cocoa College is the main training college of Ghana Cocoa Board. It was established in 1950 as the Bunso Agric Training School. Their mission is to train and organise course for the CSSVD or the cocoa control unit, seed production unit and other divisions and subsidiaries.
It was originally established to organise training programs for COCOBOD technical and field staff. The college has, since, gone through a lot of transformation and widened its scope to host and organise courses and workshop for non-COCOBOD staff and other local and international bodies.
Over the years, the College has trained thousands of field staff of COCOBOD and other agriculture-based organisations as well as hosted a number of government organisations including World Vision International, USAID, Peace Corp, MOFA.
The University of Agriculture Science and Environmental Studies (which has taken over some of the assets of the Cocoa College) is a tertiary education initiative by the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council under the authority of Okyehene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin.

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