Opuni petitions Chief Justice to remove judge

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni (left) talking to Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo , the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) after the hearing
Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni (left) talking to Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo , the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) after the hearing

Former CEO of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, has petitioned the Chief Justice, Justice Kwesi Anin Yeboah, seeking the removal of the judge presiding over his trial.

Dr Opuni, who is standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss of Ghc271.3 million, went to the Chief Justice, after the presiding judge , Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, dismissed his application asking him to recuse himself.

Certiorari application

Apart from the petition, lawyers for Dr Opuni have also filed a certiorari application asking the Supreme Court to quash Justice Honyenuga’s ruling not to recuse himself

In view of the petition to the Chief Justice, the expected opening of defence by Dr opening today (Friday) has been postponed.

Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court judge, adjourned the hearing to June 29, to await the Chief Justice’s decision on the petition.

Background

Dr Opuni and businessman, Seidu Agongo are standing trial over accusations of causing financial loss of more than GH¢271.3 million to the state in a series of fertiliser deals.

Dr Opuni was the CEO of the COCOBOD between November 2013 and January 2017, while Agongo is the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, an agrochemicals company.

The two were dragged to court by the Attorney-General (A-G) in March 2018 on 27 charges for allegedly engaging in illegalities in a series of fertiliser transactions, which the A-G says caused a financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state.

Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to the COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by allowing Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.

The two have denied any wrongdoing and have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
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