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Dr Opuni GH¢271.3m financial loss case: Agricult sold fertiliser to COCOBOD – Witness

A policeman yesterday told the Accra High Court that Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, a fertiliser manufacturing company, sold Lithovit Liquid fertiliser to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) between 2014 to 2017.

Detective Inspector Mercer Prempeh, was testifying as seventh witness in the case in which Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and Mr Agongo are standing trial for alleged procurement breaches and stealing, in a fertiliser deal.

Insp Prempeh told the court that Agricult Limited presented a powdery substance to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) for testing, but it was later sold as liquid substance to Cocoa Board. 

 Led in evidence by Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution at the Attorney General’s Department, Insp Prempeh said he got to know accused when the Economic and Organised Crime Organisation asked Forensic unit of the Ghana Police Service to conduct investigation into the lithovit case.

Upon the commencement of investigation by the Forensic unit where he is the station officer, Insp Prempeh told the court presided by Justice Clement Honyenugah, a Supreme Court judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge, that he and others met the Chief Executive of CRIG Mr, F. F Amoah, and the deputy, Reverend Odoi.

He told the court that Dr Opuni, upon resuming office in January 2014, held a meeting in his office at which he asked scientists to shorten the testing period for lithovit fertilizer.

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 have pleaded not guilty to all the 27 charges and are currently on bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.

The case has been adjourned to January 18, 2021.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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