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OPUNI'S LAWYERS IN SHADOW BOXING...Deputy A-G Raises Red Flag

Politics

A Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, yesterday accused lawyers of former Ghana Cocoa Board Chief Executive Stephen Opuni of engaging in shadow boxing to delay prosecution of their client.

A Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, yesterday accused lawyers of former Ghana Cocoa Board Chief Executive Stephen Opuni of engaging in shadow boxing to delay prosecution of their client.

 

He made the remark in response to an application moved to demand some documents in his ongoing trial at the High Court.

The suspects in the case are Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo, both charged with 27 counts of defrauding the state to the tune of over GHC217m.

According to Mr Yeboah Dame, the lawyers are wasting time on matters irrelevant to the case, arguing that the documents in question are irrelevant to the case and that applying for them showed that the lawyers lacked an understanding of the case against their client.

Among the 13 documents lawyers for Dr. Opuni were requesting are all fertilizer supply contracts signed by COCOBOD between 2008 and 2018, as well as all statements of witnesses that would or would not be called by the state during the trial.

According to Mr Yeboah Dame, the application by defence counsels was utterly unfounded and hinged on irrelevant considerations.

He, however, indicated the preparedness of the state to supply the documents relevant to the case against Dr. Opuni

Dr. Stephen Opuni and his lawyers had filed the application demanding the documents with the justification that they were important to the preparation of his defence.

The defence wants the court to order the state to produce all documents which have come into its possession, custody and or knowledge in the course of the investigations.

Other documents requested by the lawyers of the former COCOBOD CEO include letters written by Dr Opuni to the Public Procurement Authority for permission to sole source the lithovit foliar fertilizers in question during his tenure as CEO of COCOBOD.

They also want all correspondence from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana to the Chief Executive of COCOBOD in connection with Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer before, during and after the tenure of Dr. Opuni as Chief Executive of COCOBOD, all certificates issued by CRIG for all fertilizers including Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer from 2008 till March 2018 as well as renewals of all such certificates.

They are additionally demanding all contracts for fertilizers entered into by COCOBOD from January 2008 to March 2018, the directives of Dr. Opuni issued to CRIG instructing it to reduce and or shorten the time for testing of Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer, all contracts executed between COCOBOD and Agricult Ghana Limited for Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer, all reports issued by CRIG on the effect of all fertilizers including Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer after use for 2008 to 2017, the two test results issued by Ghana Standard Authority for Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer and all proceedings, together with the findings of the investigative body set up by COCOBOD in connection with Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer.

Arguing his application, counsel for Dr. Opuni, Samuel Codjoe, said that his client’s motion was brought under Article 19 (2) e & g of the 1992 Constitution which entitled them to the documents they were requesting.

 In addition, Mr. Samuel Codjoe was of the opinion that being supplied the documents would guarantee his client a fair trial.

The Accra High Court, presided over by Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Honyenuga, adjourned its ruling to April, 30, 2018 because of the case before the Supreme Court similar to this one.

He said the decision of the Supreme Court would be binding on him.