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JUST IN: Opuni Unwell, Trial Adjourned

The trial of the former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board(Cocobod), Dr Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo has been adjourned to May 26, 2021, as the court heard that the latter has been indisposed.

Dr Opuni was expected to open his defence today after the court had held that the prosecution was able to lead sufficient evidence in 24 out of the 27 charges levelled against him and the other accused persons.

But his lawyer, Samuel Codjoe, lawyer earlier this morning told the court that Dr Opuni visited the University of Ghana Medical Centre where he has been referred to see another specialist.

This, he said explains why his client was not in court.

The Director of a Public Prosecution(DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa told the court that she had just been given a copy of the medical report but having looked at it, it appeared to be rather vague as it did not give any time to guide the proceedings.

She added that such excuse duty letters usually give the number of days the accused person would be away.

Nutifafa Nutsukpui, counsel for Seidu Agongo and Agricult also indicated that he had not seen the medical report but to the extent that it had to do with a medical issue, the court may indulge Dr Opuni to obtain the required medical assistance he needs.

The court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Supreme Court judge sitting as an additional High Court judge consequently adjourned the matter to May 26, 2021.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the accused persons have filed a notice of appeal against the court’s ruling on a submission of no case which ordered them to open their defence.

They have also applied for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.

Trial

Dr Opuni, Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited are standing trial for 27 charges of causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretences, conspiracy to commit a crime, abetment of crime, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of the PPA Act.

Together, they are accused of causing a financial loss of over GHc217 million to the state through the sale and purchase of the controversial Lithovit Liquid Fertilizer which the prosecution says was never tested.

 

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

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