A former Director of Finance at the COCOBOD, Mr Charles Tetteh Dodoo, on Thursday told the Accra High Court that the Procurement Unit of the COCOBOD wrote the letter that sought approval to sole source Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser.
The letter was dated October 16, 2015 and addressed to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Mr Dodoo asserted when he was led in evidence by Mr Samuel Kojo, Counsel for Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, a former Chief Executive of Ghana COCOBOD.
Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, are standing trial for alleged procurement breaches that caused financial loss to the state.
Mr Dodoo, who is the first of eight witnesses to be called by the defence, had already told the court presided over by Justice Clement Honyenugah, a Supreme Court judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court Judge, that Dr Opuni signed letters brought to him from the Procurement Unit of COCOBOD for purchases of fertilisers, fungicides and insecticides for cocoa farmers.
The case has been adjourned to Monday December 13, 2021 at 10:30am.
In March 2018, the Attorney-General charged Dr Opuni and Agongo with 27 counts for allegedly engaging in illegalities that caused financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state, and led to the distribution of sub-standard fertiliser to cocoa farmers.
Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell sub-standard fertiliser to COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by not allowing Agongo’s products to be tested and certified, as required by law.
The two accused persons have pleaded not guilty to all the 27 charges and are currently on bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.
Justice Honyenugah, a Supreme Court judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, was on July 28 barred from hearing the criminal case by a 3-2 majority decision of the Supreme Court over a possible bias against the accused.
But, three months after the ruling, an enhanced 4-3 majority decision upheld a review application filed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, and asked Justice Honyenugah to continue proceedings.
Lawyers for Dr Opuni, who is a former Chief Executive of the Ghana COCOBOD, had accused the trial judge of bias for making pre-judicial comments and also excluding 18 documents (exhibits) tendered through a prosecution witness without objection.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA