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General News Wed, 27 Apr 2022

COCOBOD trial: Court subpoenas five witnesses for Dr Opuni 

An Accra High Court has granted a request for a subpoena to be issued for five witnesses Dr Stephen Opuni, a former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, seeks to rely on in his defence.

Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, granted the applications.

He said the Registrar of the Court should carry out the order with assistance from Mr Samuel Codjoe, the Counsel for Dr Opuni by providing the necessary addresses for service on the personalities.

"The Registrar is to carry out this order in cooperation with Counsel of first accused,” the court directed.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

Earlier, the Counsel in moving the application said they wanted to rely on Article 19(2)(g)(h) of the Constitution.

He said under Article 19(g), they wanted the court to issue a subpoena for Reginald Aduakwa, a Banker, who was assigned to Dr Opuni at Ecobank together with Samuel Amponsah, who was the Acting Head of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED).

The Counsel said the next person they wanted the Court to subpoena was Peter Okyere Boateng, a Deputy Executive Director, CHED, in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation.

He said Mr Boateng was directly in charge and he officially wrote the CHED report on the evaluation of fertilizers, including Lithovit, which report was given to the court by prosecution.  

"He will talk about the effect on Lithovit on matured Cocoa," he added.

Mr Codjoe also informed the Court that they intended to subpoena Dr Gilbert Anin Kwarpong,  who was the former Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) in 2015/16 and 2016/17 Cocoa seasons during, which COCOBOD through CRIG renewed the certificate for Lithovit fertilizer 

"We also want a subpoena issue at Atta Kwasi, a farmer, who used Lithovit and whose farm is in the Ahafo Region," he said.

Mr Codjoe said they also wanted to call Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum, who was the former Board Chair, who resided in Kumasi.

The Counsel told the court that Mr Agyekum had a health challenge by way of a spinal issue, hence they wanted his evidence taken through video conferencing. 

He said although he had no problem with his voice, it would be problematic for him to be physically present in court. 

The case has since been adjourned to May 9, 2022.
Source: GNA
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