Business in Ghana

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How Vice President Betrayed Cocoa Farmers

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 3, 2010

By Godwin Adjei-Gyamfi

The events leading to how the official ban was overturned by the VP.

APRIL 7TH 2010

Undercover investigation by a journalist in Ghana identifies Armajaro (one of the world’s largest cocoa commodity traders owned by Anthony Ward) contractor as an alleged smuggling conspirator. The company faces a partial trading ban.

JULY 1ST 2010

Anothony Ward, chief executive of Armajaro Holdings and a Conservative party donor, writes to Andrew Mitchell, international development secretary, asking for help to overturn the ban.

His leaked letter reads

‘We would like to ask you to intervene on our behalf at presidential level to request the ban lifted’


Mitchell phones Nicholas Westcott, the High Commissioner in Ghana, for briefing on Armajaro.

Department for International Development (DFID) officials email Ward’s letter to the Foreign Office. The leaked letter reads

‘It will be in your best interest to give this request your urgent attention’

Civil Servants raise concerns about lobbing the Ghanaian vice president (see why in later follow up release) at a London trade forum, as suggested by Ward’s letter.

Concerned Foreign Office email read,’should the UK company realise that they’ve broken the rules and have to pay the price?’

JULY 7TH 2010

Henry Bellingham, the Foreign Office minister, dines with John Dramani Mahama and lobbies him on Armajaro’s behalf

Leaked Foreign Office memo reads, ‘The (vice president) has undertaken to look into it immediately on his return’

JULY 14TH 2010

Foreign Office officials propose contacting Armajaro, leaked memo reads

‘They might like to know what we’ve done on their behalf’


Westcott, sends email to DFID, disclosing that the Ghana cocoa board had drawn up a draft decision to allow Armajaro to resume trading, leaked Foreign Office memo reads

‘I hope this will sort the matter’


Trade ban on Armajaro in Ghana is lifted in all but one district.

John Dramani Mahama gift for betraying cocoa farmers read the full Monty in the next follow up.

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