Opuni Demands More Documents

Dr. Stephen Opuni

Embattled former Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, who is on trial for
allegedly causing over GH¢217 million financial loss to the state, has made
further demand on state prosecutors to provide him with certain documents.

According to his lawyers, those documents, which
include correspondences between COCOBOD and the Public Procurement Authority
(PPA), were very necessary for their case.

The state, in accordance with the Supreme Court
order, has indicated that it has furnished the defence with the whole document
they intend to rely on for the trial.

In April last year, Samuel Cudjoe, lead counsel
for Dr. Opuni, filed an application demanding certain documents from the Office
of the Attorney General.

Once again, he has renewed the application
urging the court to order the state to provide those documents.

The documents include all letters written by
COCOBOD through Dr. Opuni to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for
permission to sole source for all fertilizers.

Another document the defence lawyer is
requesting is all letters written by COCOBOD through Dr. Opuni to sole source
Lithovit fertilizer, and all letters from PPA approving COCOBOD’s request to
sole source fertilizers.

Chief State Attorney Evelyn Keelson raised
issues with the relevance of the documents being requested, saying most of them
have nothing to do with the trial, as they include documents which were in
existence before Dr. Opuni became CEO of COCOBOD.

The trial judge, Justice Clemence Honyenugah, a
Court of Appeal judge, made an order on COCOBOD and PPA to provide the
documents within seven days of receipt of the order.

Cross
Examination

Meanwhile, the court has also ordered the state
to provide the defence with another document relating to the purchase of
agrochemicals by COCOBOD for the 2017/18 cocoa farming season.

The order came after the third prosecution
witness, Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah, a former Deputy Chief Executive at COCOBOD,
denied allegations by Dr. Opuni’s lawyer that COCOBOD had always used single
source method to purchase fertilizers and other agrochemicals.

According to the witness, the institution uses
both single source and competitive bidding, citing the 2017/18 cocoa season
where COCOBOD used both methods to purchase agrochemicals.

Hearing continues on June 20

Trail

Dr. Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo, Managing
Director of Agricult Ghana Limited are before an Accra High Court for causing
financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢217,370,289.22.

The two are facing a total of 27 charges,
including defrauding by false pretense, willfully causing financial loss to the
state, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of
the Public Procurement Act.

The two are in court over the purchase and
supply of Lithovit fertilizer which the state said was done in contravention of
several laws.

Another bone of contention between the state and accused person is the nature of the fertilizer. The state maintained that the fertilizer that was tested and approved with certificate was a solid substance but the defence insisted it was in a liquid form.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak



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