Crime

Court rejects Dr Opuni’s document

An Accra high court yesterday rejected a document lawyers for Dr Stephen Opuni, the immediate past Chief Executive of Cocobod wanted to tender through a witness.

Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, a fertiliser manufacturing company are standing trial for allegedly causing GH¢217 million financial loss to the state in a fertiliser deal.

Mr Samuel Codjoe, counsel for Dr Opuni attempted to tender the document, being a letter for renewal of Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG) certificate for pesticides, fertilisers and spraying machines during cross-examination of  Dr Yaw-Adu Ampomah, the third  prosecution witness, but the prosecution  objected to the tendering of the document.

The said letter was signed by Dr Opoku Ameyaw, a former staff of CRIG in 2014.

In his objection, a senior state attorney, Mr Asiamah Sampong told the court presided by Justice Clement Honyenugah that the witness cannot answer questions on the letter because he did not author it.

Mr Codjoe argued that the letter was an official document from CRIG and that witness can answer questions on it.

Counsel referred to a decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Zamrama vs. Segbedzi and argued that the document was admissible.

Ruling on the objection, Justice Honyenugah, a Court of Appeal judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, stated that sufficient foundation ought to have been laid by the defence counsel before the document could be tendered.

He said the authority counsel relied on was only applicable in a civil trial and not in criminal trial.  

 Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They had pleaded not guilty to all charges levelled against them and are on a GH¢300,000 each self-recognisance bail.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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