State prosecutors in the case of the former COCOBOD chief executive Stephen Opuni, are requesting for documents the defence team intends to rely on in cross examining prosecution witnesses.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa told the Accra High Court on Tuesday that her request would rather help facilitate proceedings especially whenever the defence counsel wants to tender those documents in evidence.
She made the intervention after initially raising no objection to the first in a series of documents lawyer for the defence Samuel Cudjoe was tendering through third prosecution witness, Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah, discrediting the witness as being “untruthful” on issues of sole sourcing.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah was testifying in the trial involving former Chief Executive of COCOBOD Dr. Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo.
The two have been charged with 27 counts, including wilfully causing financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, defrauding by false pretence, money laundering and corruption of a public officer.
The moment the defence counsel showed a sign of wanting to tender in evidence some more documents, Mrs. Atakora Obuobisa stood on her feet and prayed to the court that since prosecution gave the accused all the documents that were relied on, the accused should also do same.
“My lord in line with the Justice Eugenie Baffoe Bonnie’s case, it is only fair that the defence supply us just as we do, all documents that they want to tender. It is only fair they supply us with all the documents they want to rely on. This is for ease of trial,” she said.
But Samuel Cudjoe rejected the plea and demanded that the DPP brings a formal application so that he can respond to it appropriately, wondering if it was even proper for the accused to provide prosecution with documents even before he opens his defence.
He noted that the documents the prosecution is asking for in advance emanated from her side – COCOBOD.
“You want to discover your own documents? These are documents emanating from them. You cannot tell us to give you what you wrote,” he stated.
Prosecution then threatened that if the request was not met, she will ask for the case to be “stood down” so that she will “confer” with the witness anytime defence want to tender any document.
This, she maintained, was necessary “so that we will not be taken by surprise”.
But Samuel Cudjoe insisted that the documents the prosecution is demanding are documents the witness either wrote or was in copy, and has admitted having knowledge on them.
The trial judge Justice Clemence Honyenuga was forced to step in and asked prosecution to make her application formal, advising “if proper application comes we will consider it”.