It is surprising that a corporate entity, AgriCult Ghana Limited, has been charged together with the Former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Opuni, for causing financial loss to the state, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi, has said.
According to him, Ghana is yet to introduce into its criminal jurisprudence the Corporate Criminal Liability, which would have permitted the state to prefer charges against a corporate entity for an offence and not its directors.
To the extent that the Corporate Criminal Liability has not been introduced in Ghana, any attempt to charge an entity and not its directors will be technically flawed, he said.
Dr Stephen Opuni has been charged along with the CEO of Zeera Group of Companies, Seidu Agongo, and AgriCult Ghana Limited, with 27 charges including causing financial loss to the state.
According to the state, the two individuals and the company connived to defraud the state of GH¢43,120,000.
Speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Thursday, 15 March, Mr Dafeamekpor said: “…The other interesting observation I have made is that the Republic is bringing a case against an artificial corporate entity, which is AgriCult Company Limited.
“Throughout my criminal law practice, studies and procedures, there is a principle under Corporate Criminal Liability which we are yet to introduce into our jurisprudence in Ghana. What normally happens is that if someone works with a company and has committed a crime in the name of that company, you don’t arraign the company, you arraign the directors because they are the directing minds of the company.
”And, so, it is shocking that the Republic will now say that they are bringing a case against AgriCult Company and not the people controlling it. This is a technical issue I am raising.”
He stressed: “We are yet to introduce Corporate Criminal Liabilities into our criminal jurisprudence, and, so, if a director of a company commits a criminal offence, you go against the director, you don’t fight the company as an accused entity. Now Agricult is being cited as an accused entity. How did the prosecution take the caution statement and the charge statement from the company? Who wrote those statements?”