Application seeking cross examination of Justice Honyenugah dismissed

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday dismissed an application in which lawyer Samuel Kojo wanted to cross-examine Justice Clement Honyenugah.

Justice Honyenugah, a SC judge, currently presides over the Lithovit fertiliser case involving Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, and Mr Seidu Agongo, a businessman, at the Criminal Division “one” of the High Court.

Mr Kojo, who is the lead counsel for Dr Opuni, the applicant, went to the apex court to bar Justice Honyenugah from sitting on the case over a possible bias against his client.

Dr Opuni also prayed the SC to restore portions of evidence on record expunged by the trial judge in the course of the trial at the High Court.

When the case was called yesterday, Mr Kojo told the court that his reason to cross-examine the judge was because Justice Honyenugah had put himself in the matter by opposing the motion of Dr Opuni in an affidavit.

Mr Kojo told the court that Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, the former Chief Justice, has held in one of her decisions  that if a judge swear to an affidavit in a matter in dispute, it is trite for the said judge to be cross-examined. 

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred  Yeboah Dame,  argued that the application had not raised any serious issues of concern.

He said the grounds for calling on a judge to testify had not been met and that the application was totally needless and misconceived.

Ruling on the application, the court said it was it considered opinion that the application was needless and subsequently dismissed it.

Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, a fertilizer manufacturing company, are standing trial for alleged procurement breaches.

The trial of Dr Opuni was put on hold on January 18, pending the outcome of the SC decision.

The Supreme Court in a 3-2 majority decision last year, upheld the argument of Dr Opuni that there was a likelihood of biased against the applicant.

But, in a review application filed by Mr Dame, an enhanced panel of the SC, overturn the earlier decision by the same court.

Mr Samuel Kojo had accused the judge of bias and asked him the (judge) to recuse himself.

The first accusation against the judge was when Justice Honyenugah said at traditional ceremony in the Volta Region in the build up to the 2020 General Election that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was likely to win the election because of his good works.

In another instance, Mr Kojo accused the judge of bias when the judge asked for expeditious trial of the case.

In this instant application filed two motions- a certiorari and a prohibition which seeks to quash an earlier ruling made by the high court and stop the judge from hearing the case.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo had pleaded not guilty to charges of contravention of Public Procurement Act, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer, defrauding by false pretences and manufacturing fertilizer with registration.

The two are currently on bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.


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