Alleged COCOBOD financial loss: Payment to Agongo went through all processes – Witness

A defence witness in the case in which Dr Stephen KwabenaOpuni, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana COCOBOD, is standing trial for alleged procurement breaches and causing financial loss to the state, in a fertilizer deal, said payment to SeiduAgongo went through all processes like other transactions.

Mr Charles TettehDodoo, witness, told the High Court High,in Accra, that during the payment made to Agongo, there was no intervention from anyone to get the Director of Finance to instruct the payment per the request from the supplier.

MrDodoo in a cross examination led by MrNutifafaNutsukpui, counsel for Agongo, who is the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, confirmed that there was proof of delivery of 300,000 liters of Lithovit liquid fertilizer to which payment was made.

DrOpuni and MrAgongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully 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 GH300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

MrDodootold the court presided over by Justice ClemenceHonyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as an additional High Court Judge, that apart from signing the instruction for transfer of payment, he (witness) was also involved in ensuring the delivery of the products before payment was done.

The witness said after citing the proof of delivery, one other thing he would look for before payment was the contract of supply and any other special conditions the supplier was required to fulfil.

Asked, whether under his supervision, he ensured that all these requirements were met before payment issued, Mr Dodoo answered in the affirmative.

He said all the transfer instructions had been signed by the Deputy Chief Executive and the Director of Finance, adding that transfer of funds required two signatures, which were mandated signatures.

Mr Dodoo explained that there were category ‘A’ signatures, involving the Chief Executive and three Deputies, while category ‘B’ signatures, include Director of Finance, Deputy Director of Finance and one other manager from the bank.

He said transfer from the bank required a signature each from both categories.

MrNutsukpui asked the witness whether in buying and paying for Lithovit liquid fertilizer, COCOBOD paid for a worthless product for which it received no value.

MrDodoo, former Director of Finance of COCOBOD, said “l will treat this with the contempt it deserves.”

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, has commenced cross examination of the witness, which will continue on the next adjourned date, April 25, 2022.

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