12 June 2018

Ghana: Dr Opuni's Request for Documents - Court to Rule On June 13

The Accra High Court will on Wednesday, June 13 give ruling on request for disclosure of documents by Dr Stephen Opuni, the immediate past Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who has been accused of allegedly causing financial loss of GH¢217 million to the state.

The case was put on hold for more than a month awaiting the outcome of a similar case at the Supreme Court (SC) in which the applicant wanted an interpretation of Article 19 (2) (e) and (g) of the 1992 Constitution that bothers on fair trial and provision of adequate time and facilities to the accused.

In a unanimous decision, the SC, on June 7, ordered the state to furnish the accused with all documents it intends to rely on in both summary and indictment trials.

Court of Appeal Justice, Clemence K. Honyenugah, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, said although he was aware of the SC judgement, he would need a certified true copy of the judgement as he would not give a ruling "based on speculation."

The accused and his accomplice, Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited were granted self recognisance bail of GH¢300,000 on March 27, having pleaded not guilty to all 27 charges leveled against them by the Attorney-General.

Dr Opuni's lawyer, Mr Samuel Cudjoe, filed the motion on behalf of his client and asked the court to order the prosecution to furnish Dr Opuni with documents which have come into its possession, including the witness statements of Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, the second and third accused.

He said the documents, numbering about 30 were essential to his client because the prosecution's case was anchored on those documents.

The applicant further urged the court to direct the prosecution to furnish him with witness statements of persons obtained by prosecution who would be called at the trial and those of others who would not be called to give evidence as well as letters written by COCOBOD through the first accused to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for permission to sole source contracts for all fertilisers.

Dr Opuni's other request includes all letters written by PPA in connection with Lithovit Foliar Fertilisers during the tenure of the first accused with COCOBOD, all correspondence from the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG) to the Chief Executive of COCOBOD concerning Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser, before, during and after the tenure of the first accused.

The former COCOBOD boss is also asking for the provision of all certificates issued by CRIG for all fertilizers including Lithovit from 2008 till March 2018 and renewals of such certificates.


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