Former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and business man Seidu Agongo, who doubles as Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, have pleaded not guilty to all the counts of charges preferred against them, including willfully causing financial loss to the state and defrauding the state by false pretences.The two appeared before an Accra High Court on Monday, 26 March 2018.
The prosecution team was represented by Attorney General Gloria Akuffo and her two deputies Godfred Yeboah Dame and Joseph Dindiork-Kpenka as well as Chief State Attorney Evelyn Keelson, Principal State Attorney Frances Molen Ansah, as well as Stella Ohene Appiah, Richard Gyenbibi and Penina Asa Dankwah.
The defence team representing Dr Stephen Opuni comprises Samuel Cudjoe and Johnson Normesinu. Agricult and Seidu Agongo are represented by Benson Nutsukpi, Joel Annor Afari, Emmanuel Kumadey and Jemima Dei.
The accused persons 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.