Opuni Case: All missing CRIG documents bear out Lithovit as liquid fertiliser – Agongo lawyer tells court
Mr Benson Nutsukpui, the lead counsel for businessman Seidu Agongo in the ongoing Lithovit fertiliser trial involving former CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, has indicated that the erasure of certain information from some documents in the fertiliser file at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), is meant to mislead the court into believing that the state of the Lithovit fertiliser at the centre of the case is powdery rather than liquid.
The true state of the fertiliser has become one of the key bones of contention in the trial. While the prosecution witnesses maintain the product was powdery, the lawyers for Mr Agongo insist it is in liquid form.
Deputy Director, Legal Services at COCOBOD, Mr Johannes Velba, during the hearing on 17 December 2018, told the court that efforts to trace some key documents which were vital to the ongoing trial and in possession of CRIG, revealed there had been possible erasures, re-numbering and tampering of some documents, hence the need to set up a committee to probe the issue.
During the continuation of his cross-examination of the 2nd prosecution witness, Dr Alfred Arthur, in court on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, Mr Nutsukpui said the erasures were meant to cover the description of the fertiliser as a liquid agrochemical.
He also cited the disappearance of a particular letter with reference number CRIG39/14Vol.19/6448 dated 21 October 2014 to buttress his point.
According to him, that letter has also disappeared because its heading also described the product as ‘Lithovit Liquid fertiliser’.
Below are excerpts of the cross-examination proceedings between Mr Nutsukpui and the prosecution witness:
Q. I am putting it to you that the Evans Anim ad hoc Committee found as a fact that those documents, the budget and invoice existed on the files of CRIG
A. My lord, I'm not aware
Q. And, indeed, they attached copies of those documents to their report
A. I'm not aware my lord
Q. I am further putting it to you that those documents; that is the invoice, the receipt and the budget were all found in the custody of CRIG and attached to the report which was issued by the Evans Anim committee.
A. My lord, I'm not privy to this information
Q. I am further putting it to you that all those documents and the report were given to the counsel of COCOBOD, Mr Johannes Velba by the director of CRIG to file in this honourable court on his behalf
A. My lord, I'm not privy to this
Q. I am putting it to you that as far back as 2014, CRIG on their own described the product as Lithovit Liquid fertiliser
A. That's not correct my lord
Q. I am further putting it to you that the disappearance of the letter under reference CRIG39/14Vol.19/6448 is because the heading over there also described the product as Lithovit Liquid fertiliser
A. My lord, I've not seen such a letter
Q. On the fertiliser file at CRIG, the erasures were meant to cover the description of the product as Lithovit Liquid fertiliser.
A. My lord, I have not seen such a document
The case has been adjourned to Monday, 18 February 2019.