An Accra High Court hearing the case of Dr Stephen Opuni, the former CEO of COCOBOD and two others has adjourned the hearing of an application for stay of proceedings pending appeal to June 18.
The adjournment was necessitated when it was discovered that Samuel Cudjoe, the Counsel for Dr Opuni was unwell according to Johnson Normesinu, who held brief for him.
The pending application for stay of proceedings pending an appeal at the Court Appeal was expected to have been moved today, but due to the indisposition of Mr Cudjoe.
The court on March 16, 2020, dismissed a motion seeking the trial judge, Justice Clemence Honyenugah to recuse himself from continuing with the trial, alleging he made certain comments on a different forum.
The motion was seeking the trial judge, who was a Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, to stop the trial and refer the matter to the Chief Justice for reassignment.
The court in its ruling dismissing the application said the allegations raised on his comments were non-judicial and do not touch on the instant case.
The court in adjourning the trial on Friday, the Supreme Court judge, said upon hearing Mr Normesinu, holding brief for lawyer Cudjoe, “I believe that I will be a very good person to ask him to move the pending application.”
He said the explanation from the lawyer holding brief for Mr Cudjoe that he had the information this morning and does not even have the brief with him, the adjournment would be granted.
He said the case is a part-heard and application must be dealt with expeditiously as possible to pave way for the trial to proceed.
The Judge said he was of the view that the adjournment sought is too long and unacceptable to the court, hence the resort to June 18.
He said earlier on, there have been directives by Chief Justice on adjournments in view of the pandemic but for now, the situation has been revised and that hearing the application should not take so much time when the case was called Mr Normesinu told the court that Mr Cudjoe wanted the trial to be adjourned to July 8.
“My Lord, my learned senior who was preparing to come and move our application for stay of proceedings pending appeal fell ill this morning and instructed our office manager to type a letter to be delivered to this honourable court for the case to be adjourned to July 8,” he said.
He said he was only informed about the situation and he does not even have the information to move the application
“I am therefore incapacitated to move same and in view of this we will be grateful if your Lord will grant our humble request and adjourned trial”.
Principal State Attorney, Stella Ohene-Appiah in her response said: “July 8 is almost a month from today, and my Lord the business for today (Friday) is for counsel to move his application for stay of proceedings.”
The Principal State Attorney explained that this was only an application and not the trial of which counsel must, by all means, be present.
She told the court that already further cross-examination by counsel for Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited has stalled for quite some time now and therefore “this rather long adjournment is further going to delay the trial.”
Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agogngo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by a 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 self-recognisance bail each.
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