Former Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Baord (COCOBOD) Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni has closed his case to charges in the ongoing case after parading 10 witnesses to mount his defence.

Dr Opuni, who together with businessman Seidu Agongo are standing trial for 27 charges, said he was satisfied with the evidence of his Witnesses.

This is the end, Dr Opuni said he will exercise his rights under article 19(10) of the 1992 constitution not to personally mount the witness box to give evidence.

Lawyers of Dr Opuni led by Samuel Codjoe, on Monday, February 12, 2024 informed the Court that, they will call no more further Witnesses.

He also told the High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Aboagye Tandoh that, their client will not personally give evidence because he is satisfied with the evidence of his Witnesses.

“….The first accused (Dr. Opuni) is satisfied with the evidence of his witnesses and therefore he will not mount the box to give evidence personally,” Counsel for Opuni to Court.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State to the tune of GHc217 million, 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-recognizance bail each.

*Opuni’s Witnesses*

The 10 Witnesses called by Dr Opuni include farmers, scientists, bankers and COCOBOD officials paraded some of whom were subpoenaed are; Reginald Aduakwa, a Banker, who was assigned to Dr Opuni at Ecobank.

Samuel Amponsah, then Acting Head of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), Mr Amponsah will give evidence that farmers in the Western North Region required Lothivite fertilizer.

Peter Okyere Boateng, a Deputy Executive Director, CHED, in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation, he was directly in charge when the officials wrote the CHED report on the evaluation of fertilizers including Lithovit which report was given to them by prosecution.

Also, Dr Gilbert Anin Kwarpong, who was the Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) in 2015/6 and 2016/17 Cocoa seasons testified because, it was during his time that COCOBOD through CRIG renewed the certificate for Lithovit fertilizer.

Atta Kwasi, a farmer, who used Lithovit and whose farm is in the Brong Ahafo area of Ghana also testified.

Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum, who was the former Board chair of COCOBOD also gave evidence.

*Agongo’s turn*

Meanwhile the Court has facilitated the attendance of the first five witnesses for Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited.

The first five Witness who are expected to testify for Seidu Agongo are Dr Francis Baah with the Cocoa Health Extension Division (CHED) of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana,(CRIG), Bunso, Mr Paul Agyei-Gyan, Economic and Organised Crime Office, Head Office, Madam Fiona Gyamfi, Ghana Starbdards Authority, Madam Beatrice Debrah Eshun, Deputy Procurement Manager, COCOBOD and Jerome Dogbatse, CRIG Tafo.

The case has been adjourned to February 15 for Seidu Agongo to open his defence.

Source: Inusah