Crime & Punishment Fri, 21 Jun 2019

Scientists recommended companies for the restrictive bidding - Witness

Dr Yaw Adu- Ampomah, the third prosecution witness in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni and one Seidu Agongo, has said it was scientists at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), who recommend companies for the restrictive bidding.

He said COCOBOD could not recommend companies for the bidding without the expert advice from the scientists at CRIG.

Mr Samuel Cudjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni in a further cross-examination, suggested to the witness that it was the scientists, who recommended on behalf of COCOBOD but the witness denied.

The witness explained that the recommendation was based on technical advice from Scientists from CRIG, who actually tests chemical like fertilizer.

The Defence Counsel said the letter applying for the restrictive tendering was from COCOBOD and the witness agreed.

Dr Adu-Ampomah disagreed that COCOBOD do select theirown companies in the application for the restrictive tendering.

Mr Cudjoe pointed to the witness that, he stated in his evidence that at the transition team got to know that some chemicals did not go through full cycle of testing but had their certificates renewed, of which the witness agreed.

“Will you agree with me that you made the interrogation on the anomalies at the transition yourself,” but the witness agreed and said it was during the preliminary investigation stage.

Defence Counsel suggested to the witness that, he specifically stated in his evidence in Chief that the transition team recommended to the new management of COCOBOD to investigate the anomalies in the testing and procurement of Lithovit fertilizer, but the witness disagreed.

He explained that it was not only Lithovit fertilizer but also all agro-chemicals, including fertilizer.

Mr Cudjoe asked, the witness whether, the witness together with the transition team were aware that there was a problem with Lithovit not going through the cycle during testing and renewal and the witness said “My Lord, the transition team did not specify only one chemical, it said several of them.”

The Defence Counsel asked the witness if he would be right to say the witness was not truthful to the court, when in his evidence, he indicated, “the transition team recommended to the new management of COCOBOD to investigate the anomalies in the testing and procurement of Lithovit fertilizer, but he denied that.

The witness said it was because the trial was on the purchase of Lithovit hence such answer to the court.

He explained that during the transition several agro-chemicals, including Lithovit were found not to have been properly tested and “my statement on Lithovit is because the trial was focused on it.”

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 each self-recognisance bail.

The case has been adjourned to June 26, for further cross-examination.

Source: ghananewsagency.org
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