Court orders DrOpuni to produce third defence witness

The Accra High Court has ordered Dr Stephen Opuni, former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, accused of causing financial loss to the state, to produce his third defence witness, at the next adjourned date, May 25

DrOpuni through his lawyers was supposed to produce Samuel Torbi, Second Defence Witness, to be cross examined by the State prosecution in the case, but the witness was absent with an excuse duty from lawyers.

MrTorbi gave his evidence in chief and was cross examined by the Counsel for SeiduAgongo, which he ended. 

The State also commenced its cross examination, but on Wednesday May 18, when the case was called, the witness was absent, and the court was told he was on admission at the hospital and had brought an excuse duty.

DrOpuni and MrSeiduAgongo and one other, 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 GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

On Monday May 23, 2022, when the case was called, Mr Samuel Codjoe, counsel for DrOpuni, informed the court that he processed another excuse duty issued by the Ridge Hospital on behalf of MrTorbi.

MrTorbi was admitted to the Hospital on May 17, 2022, and was discharged on May 20, 2022, and was given a week’s excuse duty.

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, said she was served with a copy of the excuse duty of the witness from the hospital.

She said once again, “we do not know from the excuse duty, what is wrong with the witness, and it was their submission that for the Court to effectively manage the conduct of the case, it would be necessary for it to order the medical officer who had issued the excuse duty to appear before the court to give further and better particulars to the court as to the ailment.”

Ms Keelson said this would help the Court to effectively manage the conduct of the case and assist the court in deciding whether the next defence witness for DrOpuni could be called, while the second witness took time to heal.

Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, a Supreme Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Judge, after hearing the parties, said the second witness would be allowed to recover and recalled to continue his cross examination.

He cautioned that the Court had power to expunge the evidence of the witness at the appropriate time, consequently, although the suggestion from the prosecution to invite the doctor was laudable, it would only occasion more delays in the four-year old criminal trial 

At the last adjourned date, the judge expressed surprised at the turn of events at the disposition of the second defence witness.- GNA

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