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General News Mon, 23 Jul 2018

Opuni’s lawyers accuse Cocoa Research Institute boss of deceit

Lawyers for former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni, have accused the Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana(CRIG) Dr. Franklin Amoah of deceit.

According to the lawyers, Dr. Amoah who is also a prosecution witness in the Opuni criminal trial misled COCOBOD to approve a fertilizer that had not been tested as required.

Dr. Franklin Manu Amoah who testified in the case last week claimed that his outfit did not approve the Dr. Franklin Amoah, last week among other things, told the Accra High Court that the liquid fertilizer procured byCOCOBOD under Opuni was untested and uncertified.

But lead Counsel for Mr. Opuni Samuel Codjoe during cross-examination confronted Dr. Amoah with a letter he had written to COCOBOD approving the results of two fertilizers tested, which the witness had earlier testified was not approved since they did go through stipulated testing period.

In response to the letter, Dr. Amoah agreed to write the letter but insisted CRIG was carrying out the policy directive introduced by Dr. Opuni and not deceiving COCOBOD.

Stephen Opuni and two others, Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana limited are facing a criminal trial of over twenty charges which includes allegedly causing financial loss to the state.

Background

Dr. Stephen Opuni is facing over 27 charges over some alleged corrupt practices during his term of office.



He has been sued together with one Seidu Agongo, CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, beneficiaries of a supposed fraudulent contract worth Ghc43, 120,000.

The contract in question spanned the period between 2013 and 2016.

The State argues that Dr. Opuni misled the Public Procurement Authority to approve single-source contracts for Seidu Agongo and Agricult to provide fertilizers at a different cost.

The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, also said Seidu Agongo, acting on behalf of Agricult, submitted fertilizer to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) for testing.

The prosecution further said investigations established that Seidu Agongo deposited an amount of GHc25,000 into the account of Dr. Opuni to influence the contracts.

The prosecution also established that between 2014 and 2016, contrary to law, Seidu Agongo and Agricult manufactured fertilizer in commercial quantities when the Ministry had not registered it for Food and Agriculture.

They pleaded not guilty and had earlier been granted a GH¢ 300,000 each self-recognizance bail by the court

Give Opuni missing documents – Court orders investigator

The investigator handling the case was two weeks ago ordered by an Accra High court to furnish Dr. Opuni and his legal team with some documents in possession of the State.

The documents include all letters written by the Public Procurement Authority in connection with Lithovit fertilizer during the tenure of Dr. Opuni, and all fertilizer contracts entered into by COCOBOD from January 2008 to 2018 among others.



The order follows the failure of the Attorney General to make available the documents as ordered by the court.

Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson, told the court that her department could not help Dr. Opuni since the documents are not in their possession.

Supreme Court orders release of Opuni’s accounts

Again, the Supreme Court last week, ordered the release of all accounts belonging to Dr. Stephen Opuni.

The unanimous decision by the court, Presided by Justice Jones Dotse, however, asked for an amount of GHc25,000 to remain frozen.

Source: citinewsroom.com
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