SC retains Justice Honyenuga to handle COCOBOB financial loss case

The Supreme Court (SC) by a 4-3 majority yesterday ruled that Justice Clemence Honyenuga should be the same judge to preside over the case involving former Chief Executive  Officer (CEO) of the COCOBOB and four others standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.

This was after the enhanced seven-member panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse overturned and earlier decision by a five-member panel to remove Justice Clemence Honyenuga from the COCOBOD case.

 The two new justices Prof Nii Ashie Kotey and Gertrude Torkornoo, who were added to the review panel, joined Justice Jones Dotse and Justice Lovelace Johnson, to rule in favour of the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, while Justices Gabriel Pwamang, Justice Amadu Tanko and Justice Agnes Dodzie went for Dr Opuni.

The seven-member review panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse with support from Justice Gabriel Pwamang, Justice Agnes Dodzie, Justice Lovelace Johnson and Justice Amadu Tanko with Justice Prof Nii Ashie Kotey and Justice Gertrude Torkornoo ruled in a 4-3 majority in favour of Dr Opuni.

The A-G has moved the application for review after an earlier panel of five removed Justice Honyenuga on July 28, 2021,  in a 3-2 majority.

Dissatisfied by that decision, the AG per his review motion stated that, the apex court’s 3:2 majority decision that prohibited Justice Honyenuga, from continuing with the case of the Republic versus Opuni, Seidu Agongo, and Agri cult Ghana Limited, contained fundamental errors that occasioned a miscarriage of justice, and therefore ought to be reviewed. 

In the AG’s statement of case filed on August 18, 2021, during the legal vacation, AG invited the panel “to make a deep introspection into the soundness of the decision of the Court dated July 28, 2021, and correct the errors contained therein.”

“The Court ought to be guided by the simple question whether the impugned decision, on account of the multiple legal flaws, leads to a miscarriage of justice in the case pending at the High Court, ” the AG’s statement said.

The AG said “it is our humble submission that a careful application of relevant principles regarding the invocation of both the supervisory and review jurisdictions of the Court will undoubtedly result in a setting aside of the decision complained of. To preserve the same will be a bad and dangerous precedent for Ghana law”.

The former COCOBOD CEO and Agricult Ghana Limited CEO, Seidu Agongo, are standing trial together with Agricult Ghana Limited for allegedly causing the State to lose over GHS 217 million in a cocoa fertilizer transaction.

Dr Opuni and Mr. Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officers, and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

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