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Opuni Trial: Fertiliser cost $19m -Witness

botchway May 16, 2019


From yesterday’s issue

This is the continuation of yesterday’s court reporting where the third prosecution witness (PW3), Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah made some striking revelations, including an important document relevant to the case, the original copy which could not be found.

This made it the second time a critical document was said to be missing, nevertheless, he said a copy of it was produced by the COCOBOD.

The presiding judge, after listening to the arguments of both lawyers, ruled: “Upon hearing arguments, for and against the objection, it is my opinion that the evidence should be admitted because it has met all the necessary ingredients, as required in the relevant sections of the Evidence Act, and in the circumstance, the objection is over-ruled and admitted into evidence and to be marked as exhibit G.”

  1. Dr Adu Ampomah, please have a look at Ex A1 and tell the court what it is?
  2. It the Material Safety Data Sheet of Lithrovit CO2 Foliar Fertilizer. It is from the manufacturer, Zeoerta, Germany.
  3. You told the court that the letter from Agricult was accompanied by the Material Safety Data Sheet. Can you tell the court its relevance?
  4. The Material Safety Data Sheet is prepared by the original manufacturer, and it describes the product’s physical state, that is, whether it is powder, granular or liquid. And it also shows the chemical composition, concentration, mode of application, and its effect on plants after application.
  5. After you received the letter and Material Safety Data Sheet, what did you do?
  6. I wrote a letter to the Executive Director of CRIG, and forwarded the sample and Material Safety Data Sheet, directing him to test the Lithrovit Fertilizer on cocoa.
  7. Have a look at Exhibit A and tell the court what it is?
  8. It is the letter I wrote to the Executive Director of CRIG May 14, 2013, directing the testing of the Lithrovit Fertiliser.
  9. Have a look at Exhibit G and tell the court the nature of the letter?
  10. He says the Agricult fertiliser is new and made in Germany. It has top quality, nanotechnological powder created by tribobynamic activation and nicronisation.
  11. So, Dr Adu Ampomah, after you submitted the Lithrovit Fertiliser by Agricult Ghana Limited for testing, what happened?
  12. CRIG was testing, and normally testing of fertilisers on cocoa takes a minimum of two years, but I left in September 2013, so when I left the testing was ongoing. Then at the transition, I got to know that in February 25, 2014, barely nine months after the sample was submitted, a certificate had been issued for the product, and the then CEO had signed a letter requesting the company to supply 700,000 litres of the liquid fertiliser costing US$19,250,000 even though the product that had been submitted for testing by CRIG was described by the MD as powdery.
  13. Can you tell the period of transition?
  14. It was at the latter part of December 2016 to the end of January 2017.
  15. What was your position at the transition?
  16. I was the leader of the team that was charged to interrogate the activities of COCOBOD in the previous administration.
  17. You have told the court the information you received at the transition…what happened when?
  18. The transition recommended that the new members at COCOBOD should investigate the anomalies in the testing and procurement of the Lithrovit Fertiliser. So in February 2017, when the new management took over, we started preliminary investigations.
  19. What was your position in the new management?
  20. I was appointed the Deputy CEO of A&QC.
  21. Tell the court what or how the preliminary investigations were conducted, and what happened?
  22. We looked for the report from CRIG on Lithrovit Fertiliser, and we found out that there was a report submitted to COCOBOD by CRIG, written by three scientists – Mr Fred Arthur, Dogbatse, and the lead scientist was Mr A.A. Afrifa. And the report stated that the Lithrovit Fertiliser, which was greyish powder, had been tested on two weeks old cocoa seedlings. The test indicated that it could not scorch or damage the young cocoa seedlings, and it also promoted growth in the young cocoa seedlings.

The test was carried on two months’ young cocoa seedlings for only three months, using three concentrations of the powder. The first concentration, 25 grammes of the powder, was weighed and dissolved in a litre of water. The 2nd concentration was 50 grammes of the powder dissolved in a litre of water, and the 3rd, 75 grammes of the powder dissolved in a litre of water. And these were used on various young cocoa seedlings.

They first tested what is called phytotoxicity and growth measurements of the seedlings. That is, they concluded in the test based on the Lithrovit Fertiliser applied at 50 grammes per litre on mature cocoa could improve yield. This, management found scientifically not clear, so we asked CRIG to provide us with the MDS that accompanied the product to CRIG.

The case was, however, adjourned to May 20, 2019.

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