General News Thu, 18 Jul 2019
An Accra High Court in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni and one other will on Wednesday, July 24 hear a motion for Stay of Proceedings filed by Dr Opuni through his counsel.The Court presided by Justice Clemance Honyenugah, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge adjourned the matter because the Court and other parties had not been served.
The Motion was filed by Mr Samuel Cudjoe, the Counsel for the first accused after the Court had rejected the tendering of a document through the prosecution witness.
Mrs Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the Court that, the prosecution has not been served with the application.
At the last adjourned date on July 10, Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, the third witness under cross-examination by Mr Cudjoe said the investigative Committee established during the transitional period did not find it necessary to invite the Chairman of the Committee for Testing Chemicals and Machines (CTCM).
He said the Committee was only interested in the Scientists, who worked on the Lithovit fertilizer under contention.
Asked, whether, when the Committee was conducting its investigations in connection with some agro-base fertilizers and chemicals, they never thought it fit to know the Chairman of the CTCM at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), but the witness said the position was a temporarily one by the Executive Director of CRIG and he needs not inform COCOBOD.
Counsel for Opuni suggested that if indeed the committee investigated fertilizers and agro-chemicals, then definitely, the CTCM, the body responsible for supervising the testing of these chemicals should be of interest to them but the witness disagreed, saying the investigative committee did not find it necessary.
Asked, whether the Committee invited Dr Franklin Amoah, the former Executive Director of CRIG, Mr Akrofi, Mr A.A Afrifa, then Head of the Soil Science Division of CRIG and Dr Arthur, the Scientist, who worked on the product, the witness answered in the affirmative.
Mr Cudjoe further asked the witness, why Mr Akrofi was invited and not the Chairman of the CTCM, One Dr Opoku Ameyaw but the witness indicated that Mr Akrofi was invited to the Committee not because of Lithovit testing but on another product tested.
Asked, whether Dr Amoah worked on the product, Dr Adu-Ampomah’s answered that “Dr Amoah did not work on the product but he is the Executive Director at the time, who had read through the final report of the testing, hence his invitation and also he signed the certificates.”
Counsel then asked the witness that if he claimed he investigated the concerns of renewal of certificate after 2014, he would have definitely called for files on letters on renewal but the witness disagreed saying the Committee did not call for the files on renewal letters but rather called for files containing renewal certificates.
“My Lord there is no need to ask for renewal letters, since the available documents indicated that no liquid fertilizer has ever been tested,” he added.
“I suggest to you that the Committee will have done an extensive and thorough investigation on Lithovit, if it had asked for basic and fundamental documents, which informed CRIG to renew the certificate for 2015/2016, especially, when it claimed the renewals are wrongful,” Counsel said, but the witness disagreed.
Dr Adu-Ampomah explained that the Committee thought that the relevant documents needed was the Material Safety Data Sheet and report submitted by the scientists, who tested the fertilizer and the two documents showed that the Lithovit was powdery.
“CRIG has never worked on liquid fertilizer,” he added.
Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by 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 each self-recognisance bail.