An Accra High Court yesterday ordered the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to de-freeze all bank accounts of the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni.
EOCO froze all the assets of Dr. Opuni including his bank accounts due to the impending court issues against him.
Dr Opuni and one Seidu Agongo together are facing 27 charges of causing financial loss to the state.
Dr. Opuni has rejected all the 27 charges levelled against him by the state.
He told the Accra high court that he was not guilty of causing financial loss to the state, when he first appeared in court in what is predicted to be a long “political” trial.
But in February 2017, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office froze the assets of Dr Opuni as part of investigations into his tenure as CEO of COCOBOD.
The charges against the two come a week after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians in his address at the 61st Independence Anniversary celebrations to expect more prosecutions of persons deemed to have engaged in misappropriation of public funds.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “with the Office of the Special Prosecutor now in place, we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months, and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they will be held accountable for their stewardship of our public finances.”
“Can you imagine what we can do with GH¢5.4 billion? It can certainly finance the Free SHS for five years,” he said, while touching on the recent audit by the Auditor General into the liabilities of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies which led to the disallowance of some GH¢5.4 billion of claims.”
Dr. Opuni, appointed on November 30, 2013 to head COCOBOD, is alleged to have mismanaged the cocoa sector during his four-year tenure.
He was relieved of his post on January 12, 2017 barely a week after a new government headed by Akufo-Addo took office.
His passport was seized and was subsequently invited by EOCO where he reportedly endured some six-long hours of questioning on a wide range of issues, including alleged massive corruption in the cocoa sector.
Dr. Opuni is said to be the main brain behind the award of the contracts totalling about $512 million during the transition period.