Opuni’s lawyer, witness ‘clash’ over form of fertilizer
The form of the which is the subject of the trial of a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Stephen Kwabena Opuni, has become the major bone of contention in the trial
is the case of the Attorney-General (A-G) that Opuni purchased liquid Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser (LFF) to be used on cocoa, although it was never tested by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), a division of COCOBOD mandated with the testing of all and machinery for the cocoa sector.
According to the A-G, the which was tested by CRIG was LFF in powdery form and not liquid form.
Lawyers for Opuni have, however, disputed the claims of the A-G, insisting that the LFF that CRIG tested was in a liquid form and not powdery.
Opuni and Agongo charged
In 2018, the Attorney-General (A-G) charged Opuni, who was the CEO of COCOBOD from November 2013 to January 12, 2018, and a businessman, Seidu Agongo, for allegedly causing financial loss of Gh₡271.3million to the state.
The two were slapped with 27 charges for allegedly engaging in illegalities in series of transactions which led to the procurement and distribution of substandard to farmers
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Opuni and Agongo have, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and have been granted bail in the sum of Gh₡300,000 each by the Accra High Court.
Powdery or liquid ?
During Wednesday's cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Franklin Manu Amoah, counsel for Opuni, Samuel Cudjoe, sought to make a strong case that CRIG indeed tested liquid LFF and not a powdery LFF.
Counsel argued that it was only Amoah who claims that the LFF tested was in form.
He said other scientists at CRIG such as A.A. a former head of the Soil Science Department at CRIG, and Anim Kwapong, a former head of CRIG, had maintained that the LFF tested was in liquid form.
In response, Amoah refuted that CRIG tested liquid LFF, and explained that in 2013, COCOBOD forwarded an LFF in form which was from Germany to CRIG for testing.
He insisted that it was that powdery form of LFF that CRIG recommended to COCOBOD for purchase and not the liquid LFF that COCOBOD purchased from Agongo’s company, Ghana Limited.
The discussion then shifted to the certificate that CRIG issued for the LFF that it recommended to COCOBOD.
Below are excerpts of the cross-examination.
Samuel Cudjoe: Have you issued any certificate for Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser?
Amoah: Yes, the LFF I issued the certificate for was in form and it was from Germany with the patent R .We recommended that it should be applied at a rate of 50g in 11 . Liquid can never be measured in grams. If it was liquid it would have been measured in volumes.
Samuel Cudjoe: So the certificate is for powdery Lithovit Foliar fertilizer?
Amoah: Yes my Lord.
Samuel Cudjoe: Read is on the certificate
Amoah read the certificate which shows that CRIG had recommended to COCOBOD an LFF. The certificate showed the various components of the LFF.
Samuel Cudjoe: Show me where on the certificate that shows that the Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser was powdery?
Amoah explained that the certificate only showed the source and the chemical components of the and that it was the test report that showed the form of the LFF.
“The test report showed that the Lithovit foliar was a fine greyish powder,’’ he said.
The cross-examination would continue on Friday, October 12, at the court, presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga