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Opuni trial put on hold as Supreme Court decision on Honyenuga pends

Stephene Opuni Vv Former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni

Mon, 17 Jan 2022 Source: starrfm.com.gh

The trial of former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, has been put on hold following his latest application for certiorari and prohibition at the Supreme Court.

Dr Opuni is seeking to stop Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, a Supreme Court judge siting as an additional High Court judge, from continuing to hear his case on grounds of alleged “hostility and likelihood of bias.”

The application which would be moved on February 8, comes after the court dismissed his application urging the trial judge to recuse himself from the trial on December 16 last year.

In court on Monday, January 17, 2022, Justice Honyenuga said, “the court has been served with motion to the Supreme Court for prohibition and certiorari to prohibit me from continuing to hear the case.”

“It is appropriate to adjourn the matter to await the decision of the Supreme Court,” the judge stated.

Even though the hearing notice of the case at the Supreme Court has been fixed for February 8, 2022, Justice Honyenuga adjourned the case to January 31.

At the last court sitting on January 10, before today’s hearing, lawyers of Opuni told the court that they have filed a motion at the Supreme Court for certiorari and prohibition.

But, the court said, it has not seen that motion and could not comment on it.

Bias and hostilities

Lawyers of Dr Opuni led by Samuel Codjoe per the latest motion are invoking the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for certiorari and prohibition.

The former COCOBOD boss who is standing trial together with private businessman, Seidu Agongo alongside the businessman’s company, Agricult Ghana Limited, for allegedly causing over GH¢217 million financial loss to the state, filed an application urging the judge to recuse himself from the trial on grounds of ‘hostility’ and ‘likelihood of bias’ towards him.

Dr. Opuni’s application alleged ‘open hostility’ towards him by the trial judge claiming “his acts and conducts is such that justice cannot be said to be seen to be done.”

Dr. Opuni through his counsel, Samuel Codjoe, argued that the court has gone back on its previous practice of agreeing on dates with lawyers involved in the matter and now imposing hearing dates contrary to what pertained when the prosecution was calling its witnesses.

Antics

While opposing to the application by Mrs Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney, argued that there is no basis at all for the application and Dr. Opuni “failed woefully to demonstrate any credible evidence of bias against him by this court.”

“As we have stated in our affidavit, this application has been filed to start another round of antics by the applicant to delay the trial, and that is why we took the trouble to present before this court in our affidavit in opposition the events that have characterised this trial,” she said.

By court

In his ruling on the application for him to rescuse himself on December 16, 2022, Justice Honyenuga has said, Dr Opuni is engaging in an enterprise of throwing dusting into the eyes of everyone.

According to Justice Honyenuga, Dr. Opuni must learn to speak the truth instead of telling lies to court public sympathy so as to create public ridicule and hatred towards him the judge.

Justice Honyenuga also ruled that, l Dr Opuni’s motion through his lawyers for him to recuse himself was nothing but malicious, mischievous, feverous and abuse of court processes.

The judge added that, allegations made by Dr Opuni in his application and affidavit are blatant lies, the former boss of COCBOD must learn how to “speak the truth.”

In a marathon court sitting, Justice Honyenuga in his ruling indicated that, “I think that the first accused might have been hallucinating when DW1 (Defence Witness) gave evidence” to make those baseless and unfounded assertions against him.

Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as an additional rrsponsibility as a High Court judge said Dr Opuni is crying wolf when there is none by stating that he has demonstrated opened hostility and bias towards him.

According to the judge, it is a blatant lie for Dr Opuni (First Accused) to say in his averment in his affidavit attached the application that “I showed open hostilities towards him, since he opened his defence.”

Source: starrfm.com.gh
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