Opuni trial: Fertiliser was distributed to farmers  in 2015/2016 – Prosecutor  

A Chief State Attorney yesterday told the Accra High Court (Criminal Division One) that lithovit liquid fertilizer, the subject of controversy in the ongoing Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni trial, was distributed to farmers in Assin Fosu, in the 2015/2016 cocoa season.

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, one of the lead prosecutors in the case, in which Dr Opuni, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the COCOBOD, and one other are standing trial for alleged procurement breaches in fertiliser deal, said this when she cross-examined a defence witness, Mr Samuel Tsatsu Adigreh.

The witness had told the court in his evidence in chief that lithovit was distributed in the 2014/2015 crop season.

Mrs Keelson suggested to Mr Adigreh, a former district cocoa officer that he was not at Assin Fosu when Lithovit liquid fertiliser was distributed to farmers and that he did not know the method of the application of the fertiliser because he did not handle it.

Mr Adigreh disagreed with the position of the prosecutor and explained that he trained farmers on how to apply the fertiliser.

Below was what transpired during proceedings yesterday. 

Attorney: I am putting it to you that from the evidence of Samuel Tobin, who is a farmer at Assin Fosu, Lithovit liquid fertiliser was introduced in Assin Fosu in the 2015/2016 season. 

Witness: This is not true, just as I said, some farmers had Lithovit in 2014 whilst others started getting Lithovit from 2015. As such, it could be that Samuel Tobin had his in 2015 and not amongst those who had it in 2014.This is because there were other liquid fertilisers like lifert A and sidalco in the system before Lithovit was introduced.

Attorney: I am further putting it to you that Lithovit liquid fertiliser was introduced in Assin Fosu in February 2016 by which time you were not in Assin Fosu. 

Witness: This is not correct my lord. I said earlier that my management team came to Assin Fosu, in April, 2015. I accompanied them to the field, they inspected our field operations, including the spraying of Lithovit and other agrochemicals. At the end of their tour, they put their observations into report of which they reported on effects of Lithovit on farms in the field. It, therefore, confirms my testimony that Lithovit was introduced in 2014/ 2016 season.

Attorney: You claimed in your evidence in chief that you trained the farmers on how to apply the Lithovit liquid fertiliser. Can you describe to the court the Lithovit liquid fertiliser you claimed you saw?

Witness : The Lithovit fertiliser I saw was in one litre container with a greyish colour. When you open it you feel some sharp smell .This product, if you are not able to use all at a go on the same day, the following day, you feel the scent like urine. On the container too we have Agricult  fertiliser written on it.

Attorney: On the container, what else is written apart from Agricult? 

Witness: For me the things I find it necessary to know on the container is the dosage. This is the most important thing to me as the technical officer.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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