Dr Stephen Opuni, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and any other persons suspected to have caused financial loss to the state, should be granted amnesty and made to refund the monies they allegedly acquired fraudulent, to be used for developmental projects, Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong has said.Mr Agyapong, who has been advocating the arrest of Dr Opuni for alleged corrupt practices, has, in a U-turn disclosed that he is not happy with his arrest.
“I’m not happy that he’s [Dr Opuni] going to court,” Mr Agyapong stated.
“In my opinion, they should have given amnesty to everybody they suspect has caused financial loss to the state to refund some of the money which we can use for development. If you jail the person for even 25 years as they are saying, when he comes back from jail, he’s still rich and you haven’t done anything. So, for me, if they were first granted amnesty and then if you are stubborn and refuse to refund the money or part of it, then you can be jailed,” the lawmaker said on Ekosii Sen, a current affairs programme on Accra-based Asempa FM on Tuesday, 27 March 2018.
Dr Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and AgriCult Ghana Company Limited, are facing 27 charges of willfully causing financial loss of GHS217million to the state, through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016.
The contracts were GHS43.1million (2013/2014 cocoa farming season), GHS75.3million (2014/2015 cocoa farming season) and GHS98.9million (2015/2016 cocoa farming season) totalling GHS217million through sole-sourcing, the state claimed, adding that procurement procedures for sole-sourcing were not followed.
According to the charges, the consignments of Lithovit Foliar were produced locally, contrary to an agreement between COCOBOD and AgriCult Ghana Company Limited that it be sourced from Germany.
Also, the Attorney General claims the fertilisers were manufactured without registration, thereby, flouting the Plants and Fertiliser Act 2010.
The two men have pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them. They will reappear at the Accra High court on 11 April 2018 to continue the case.