General News Tue, 20 Mar 2018

Opuni, Agongo 'trial naked persecution' of NDC - Adongo

NDC Member of Parlaiment for Bolgatanga Central, Hon Isaac Adongo has described the impending trial of former CEO of COCOBOB and two others, as nothing short of "naked persecution" of the opposition party.

He says the matter could have been best handled by the office of the Special Prosecutor who was recently sworn in by the president, and thus considers the A-G's decision to lead the trial on behalf of government as a "waste of taxpayer's monies".

CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and AgriCult Ghana Company Limited, are facing 27 charges of willfully causing financial loss of GHS217 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) totaling GHS217million through sole-sourcing; the state claimed, adding that procurement procedures for sole-sourcing were not properly 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 fertilizers were manufactured without registration, thereby, flouting the Plants and Fertilizer Act 2010.

According to the state, Dr Opuni also took a bribe of GHS25,000 from Mr Agongo in October 2014 to facilitate the award of one of the contracts by misrepresenting facts to the Public Procurement Authority.

The state also said the 2014 contract was awarded without any price quotation.

Speaking on Okay fm's Ade Akye Abia Programme, the Bolga Central law maker described the trial as politically motivated as the NPP government intends crippling the opposition party with such planned and sustained politically-motivated trials.

“Today, we are running parallel systems: Martin Amidu is sitting there and Attorney General is in court doing Martin Amidu’s work. Why waste taxpayers’ money? That is exactly what is happening.

“The Attorney General is roaming there, Martin Amidu is also roaming in the same court on different matters. We are wasting taxpayers’ money. Go and give this case to Martin Amidu. In fact, they should transfer this case to Martin Amidu to do his work.

"If what the attorney general is not deliberate, why does she want to pursue this matter herself when the special prosecutor who has the mandate to deal with this issue has been left with other issues to handle? Why then do we create the Office of the Special Prosecutor?" he asked.

He avers that if the NPP believes it has no ulterior motive in the A-G's trial of the trio, and that the cause of their action is "fair", then they should leave the prosecution in the hands of Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor

"If this government wants us to believe that what it is doing is fair and not a political witch-hunting exercise, then he should just do the right but until then, I believe the New Patriotic Party is just trying to politically undermine the opposition, National Democratic Congress," he added.

Source: peacefmonline.com
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