The third defence witness in the Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni trial, yesterday told the Accra High Court that lithovit liquid fertiliser is the best fertiliser he has ever used for the past 20 years.
Mr Thomas Amo Amankwaa, was led in evidence by Mr Samuel Kojo, counsel for Dr Opuni, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).
The witness, a resident of Berekum, in the Bono Region, told the court presided over by Justice Clement Honyenugah, a Supreme Court judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, that lithovit liquid fertiliser, which he applied to his cocoa farm was efficacious.
He said prior to using lithovit liquid fertiliser, he used granular fertiliser on his cocoa farm.
Mr Amankwaa said in his witness statement that he owned four different farms totalling about 35 acres, and in the 2014/2015 cocoa season, his produce was 1600kg after he applied Sidalcofertiliser, supplied by the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED).
The witness said that in the 2015/2016 season, his yield increased to 4600kg due to the use of lithovit liquid fertiliser supplied to him and other cocoa farmers by CHED.
Mr Amankwaa who holds a BSC in Marketing from London, said he and other farmers were so happy and subsequently informed the officials at CHED about the efficacy of lithovit liquid fertilizer.
“So in the following year, I together with other farmers in my area informed the officials of CHED about the effectiveness of the lithovit liquid fertiliser. The quality of the yield is recorded in my passbook.”
He said “in the 2017/2018 season, I together with other farmers went to the CHED office to get lithovit liquid fertilizer, but we were informed by the CHED officials that COCOBOD has ceased supplying lithovit liquid fertiliser.”
“Because I was not getting the lithovit fertiliser from CHED, I and other farmers went to the open market to get some the lithovit liquid fertiliser but we didn’t get some.”
Mr Amankwaa said Sidalco and AsaaseWura fertilizers did not ensure much yield as compared to lithovit liquid fertilizer.
Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, a fertiliser manufacturing company, have been charged together by the state for procurement breaches and stealing.
In March 2018, the Attorney-General charged DrOpuni 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 DrOpuni 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 on GH¢300,000 bail each.
Justice Honyenugah 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 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.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA