Opuni Trial: Court dismisses motion for stay of proceedings

Honyenugah Retired Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga

Tue, 20 Dec 2022 Source: GNA

An Accra High Court has dismissed a motion for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of an interlocutory appeal filed on December 7, 2022, by Dr Stephen Opuni, a former CEO of COCOBOD.

Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, presiding, in his ruling, said there was no exceptional circumstance demonstrated by the applicant in the instant case.

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

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on GHS300,000 self-recognisance bail each.

Justice Honyenuga said, what the applicant had been complaining about had been dealt with by the Supreme Court through interpretation.

He said his ruling dated December 5, 2022, only affirmed and applied what the Supreme Court had already interpreted.

The Judge said the applicant’s application had no chance of success in the appeal instance and hence the motion had been dismissed.

The case has been adjourned to December 21, 2022, to enable the Supreme Court to hear a certiorari application for a perpetual injunction to restrain the trial judge from going on with the trial.

Mr Samuel Cudjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni, moving the motion, said if the court declined a Stay of proceedings, other remedies were available.

He said they were moving the application under the inherent jurisdictions of the court and that the issues had been detailed in their grounds of appeal referred extensively to the Constitutional provisions.

The Counsel said in respect to the jurisdiction, they have stated that by Articles 144(2) and 297 of the Constitution, it was only the President, who had the power to appoint and had the implied powers to extend the tenure of a judge, after their mandatory retirement under Article 145.

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, said the prosecution was opposed to the application for stay and relied on all averments and affidavits in opposition filed on December 8, 2022.

She said they submit that the decision of the Court delivered on December 5, 2022, was right in law and accordance with the Constitution.

The Chief State Attorney said the Court in its ruling judiciously applied the provisions of the Constitution, which were already very clear, precise and unambiguous as required by law.

“These Constitutional provisions have been affirmed already by the Supreme Court in the…. Daniel’s case and the jurisdiction of the trial judge in the matter were not in question at all.”

 She said the application for appeal had no chance of success and so there was no basis for the Court to stay proceedings, adding that the fact that an interlocutory injunction was pending did not justify or compel the court to stay proceedings.

Source: GNA
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