Opuni goes to SC again …to stop judge from sitting on case

The trial of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana COCOBOD, has been put on hold.

This is because lawyers for accused had filed two motions at the Supreme Court (SC), seeking to stop Justice Clement Honyenugah from conducting proceedings.

Proceedings at the High Court would only continue when the apex court has dealt with the motions.

This is not the first time Dr Opuni had tried to bar Justice Honyenugah from hearing the matter.

Last year, the Supreme Court (SC) in a 3-2 majority decision upheld the argument of Dr Opuni that there was a likelihood of bias against the applicant.

But in a review application filed by the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Mr Godred Yeboah Dame, an enhanced panel of the SC, overturned 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 a 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 before the SC, the applicant would move two motions on February 8, 2022.

The motions were 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 Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, a fertiliser manufacturing company 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 pretenses and manufacturing fertiliser with registration.

In March 2018, theAttorney-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 are currently on bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA


 


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