Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, Special Advisor on Cocoa Affairs to the Minister for Agriculture, has told an Accra High Court that test report on the Agricult Liquid Fertiliser was fabricated by the former Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Alex Afrifa.
According to Dr Adu-Ampomah, third prosecution witness (PW3) in the trial of the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Opuni, and two others, findings by a committee constituted by COCOBOD established that the supposed scientists never worked on the Lithrovit Liquid Fertiliser.
Dr Adu-Ampomah told the court, presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, that the four-member committee found out that the report was fabricated by Mr Afrifa without the knowledge of the other two scientists.
He emphatically stated that the committee, which he was a member of, further noted that Mr Afrifa never worked on any Lithrovit Fertiliser, and also the Lithrovit Fertiliser that was submitted by Agricult Ghana Limited, and was worked on by Dr Arthur (2nd scientist), was in powder form.
He continued that the fertiliser was tested on two months old cocoa seedlings and never on mature cocoa, and that Lithrovit Fertiliser couldn’t be applied on mature cocoa, since no scientific research basis supports such an application.
Per his evidence, since it was not true that any Lithrovit Fertiliser was tested on mature cocoa, there was no merit that the 700,000 litres of Lithrovit Fertiliser for application on mature cocoa will increase yield, as expected.
Quoting the report submitted by Ghana Standards Board (GSB) and the University of Ghana – Chemistry Department, he said the committee concluded that the Lithrovit Fertiliser that was procured was substandard.
As a result, the committee recommended that the certificate issued to Agricult Ghana Limited should be withdrawn, and that the contract for the supply of the one million litres of the product be abrogated.
Dr Ampomah, together with other members of the committee, concluded that the conduct of the CEO of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Mr Alex Afrifa, and that of Mr Seidu Agongo, Managing Director (MD) for Agricult Ghana Limited, should be reported to the state investigation agencies for further investigation.
On that basis, they called for the abrogation of the Agricult contract to supply one million litres of the supposed liquid product meant for the 2017 crop season.
Led in evidence by Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, the witness said Mr Afrifa was not truthful in some of his dealings, especially when it comes to the testing of the fertilisers.
Buttressing this point, he said when the committee queried him on why he issued a certificate whilst the fertiliser was not tested, he answered that “he assumed that field testing had been completed and a certificate issued already for the previous year, and he also assumed the next certificate he was signing was for the evaluation of the product, while it was being used in the field by farmers.
“Therefore, there was no need for him to go back and check for the original report upon which the initial certificate was issued. He thought since the new certificate was coming from the Soil Science Department, he felt testing had already been done, and had no reason to doubt the scientists who brought the new certificate for signing. It was for the same reason that he signed the certificates for subsequent years.”