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Certificate covering COCOBOD contract for fertilizer invalid – Witness

A witness has told the Accra High court that the certificate covering the contract signed between Ghana COCOBOD and Agricult Ghana Limited in 2015, for the supply of lithovit liquid fertiliser, was invalid.

This came to light yesterday when Mr Peter Amoako Osei, the Director of Finance at COCOBOD, testified in the trial, in which Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, the former Chief Executive of Ghana COCOBOD, is standing trial for alleged procurement breaches in a fertiliser deal.

Counsel for accused, Mr Samuel Codjoe, objected the tendering of the certificate by the prosecutor, Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), on grounds that the signature of his client is not on the certificate issued by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).

Mrs Obuobisa described the objection as strange, saying that the document was coming from proper custody and relevant to the case.

Ruling on the objection, Justice Clement Honyenugah, a Supreme Court Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, said the “the document ought to be admitted in evidence.”

He said if counsel had any doubts with the document, he would have the opportunity to cross-examine witness.

“In the circumstances, the objection is overruled and the document admitted into evidence and marked as Exhibit z,” Justice Honyenugah said.

On October 7, Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, the fifth witness completed his testimony.

Dr Adu-Ampomah, who is the special advisor to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, denied allegation that he is a card-bearing member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The witness admitted during cross-examination that he donated 35 motorcycles to support the governing NPP’s campaign in the Eastern Region.

  • When Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, counsel for Mr Agongo, a  businessman, suggested to Dr Adu-Ampomah that his evidence before the court is coloured by his political persuasion, the witness responded in the negative.

He said “My evidence is guided by my being a Ghanaian and, as part of my civic responsibility, if anything is going against Ghana, it is my right to stand against it”.

Dr Emmanuel Yaw Osei-Twum, of the Chemistry Department of the University of Ghana, has also testified and completed.

In his evidence, Dr Osei-Twum told the court that he and Professor Augustine Kwame, founder of the Head of the Department, found that the application of lithovit on cocoa farms from nursery to growth and yields stages remain experimental because “currently there is no evidence  for the application of lithovit on cocoa plants.

In March 2018, the Attorney-General charged Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo with 27 counts for allegedly engaging in illegalities that caused financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state, and led to the distribution of sub-standard fertiliser to cocoa farmers.

Mr Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell sub-standard fertiliser to COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by not allowing Mr Agongo’s products to be tested and certified, as required by law.

The two accused have pleaded not guilty to all the 27 charges and are currently on bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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