Cocoa Trial: EOCO Excavated Opuni’s Former Residence …in search of evidence –court told

The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has admitted that despite conducting a series of searches, including excavation of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni’s official residence, nothing evidential was found, in connection with the allegations levelled against him.

EOCO team of investigators conducted a search at Dr Opuni, former Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board’s (COCOBOD) official residence, his houses in Accra and Kumasi, as well as his family house at Dormaa Ahenkro in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Bono regions respectively.

The investigative team compelled Dr Opuni to invite a carpenter to break into his late mother’s room, with the aim of finding something incriminating against him, when the family had not performed customary rites to give anybody access into the room.
Samuel Codjoe, counsel for Dr Opuni, told the Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Aboagye Tandoh, on Wednesday, that after all these efforts, EOCO found nothing worthy of evidence against his client.

He said whilst cross-examining Paul Agyei Gyang, the leader of about five investigation teams that handled the cocoa case at EOCO, between 2017 and 2018.
The counsel also said the various investigation teams invited Dr. Opuni to their offices almost on daily basis, and staying from morning to evening.

Mr Codjoe said not only did the investigation team not find anything incriminating against Opuni, but also established that the agro-chemicals that he was accused of purchasing were supplied even before his appointment to COCOBOD.

Mr. Gyang, the Defence Witness said, had told the court that he could not remember whether EOCO investigation also revealed that the agro-chemicals in question were submitted at the time the first prosecution witness (PW1), Dr. Franklin Amoah, was the head of CRIG.

Law Courts Complex, Accra

Dr Opuni has been accused for purchasing a fraudulent fertiliser from Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, to cause the country to lose millions of Cedis.
Dr. Opuni, first accused (A1), Agongo (A2) and Agricult Ghana Limited have pleaded not guilty to 27 counts of defrauding by false pretence, wilfully causing financial loss to the republic, money laundering and corruption by public officer, in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.


Q. Mr Gyang, you informed this court that Dr Adu Ampomah was the complainant, did he give a statement to EOCO?
A. Yes my lord he did.

Q. Then EOCO will definitely have a copy of Dr Adu Ampomah’s statement?
A. I can’t be too sure as the docket has been sent to the police for further investigations.
Q. But a copy of Dr Adu Ampomah’s statement, which he gave to EOCO, will definitely be on the docket?

A. Definitely my lord, it should be on the docket.
Q. You will definitely have a duplicate docket of the entire investigation?
A. It should be possible.

Counsel: My lord, at this point we will like to apply for the statement.
Prosecution: They already have the statement. It cost the state money to produce the documents that were given to you. My lord, they have it. They should do some work. At this point they should pay for it if…

Counsel: what we have is what was discovered. I don’t have a copy of statement that Adu Ampomah gave to EOCO.
Prosecution: it is number 66 of the list of discoveries.

Q. When the original complaint was made it was in respect of other offences and not only lithovit, is that not so?
A. That is so my lord.
Q. Do you remember when this investigation commenced?

A. If my memory serves me right, January 2017.
Q. At that time your Executive Director was the late Justice Tsar?
A. Yes my lord, he was the Executive Director.
Q. And you had about four or five different teams in EOCO investigating each aspect of the allegations against A1?

A. Exactly so my lord.
Q. And in fact, because of the nature of the investigations and different teams in EOCO, which were conducting the investigations, A1 had to report to EOCO everyday when the investigation started to meet the different teams, is that not so?

A. He was reporting, but as to whether it was daily, I can’t tell.
Q. And even though you were the coordinator of all the different teams you were not in all the meetings in connection with all the changes.

A. That is exactly so.
Q. It was not uncommon for A1, Dr Opuni, together with his lawyer, to be there from morning to evening, meeting the different investigation teams?
A. It is true because he has to assist in all the eight cases.

Q. And in fact, during the course of these eight investigations, the team took him to his house in Accra to conduct searches, isn’t it?
A. My lord, it is true.
Q. They also went to his former house in Kumasi to conduct searches, is that not so?

A. My lord you are right.
Q. They also went to his family in Dormaa Ahenkro, is that not so?
A. My lord, it is so.

Q. And at the time the team went to Dormaa Ahenkro, A1 mother has just died and her room was locked, is that not so?
A. My lord you’re right.
Q. But the investigation team searched all the rooms in the house and after broke the deceased person’s room, i.e A1’s mother’s room, to conduct a search?

A. The room was broken voluntarily with the consent of A1. He brought in someone to break in.
Q. The investigators, being Ghanaians, know some rites would have to be performed before the deceased person’s room is opened by the family?

A. My lord, as I have told this court the accused person voluntarily broke into it, and the breaking was not done by the Investigator, to enable the Investigators have access into the room.

Q. In fact, if you will remember, it was the Investigators who demanded access into the room to enable them conduct their search?
A. Exactly so my lord.

Q. And if you could remember, he didn’t voluntarily call a carpenter to break the door of his deceased mother, but he was compelled?
A. My lord, there was no compulsion.

Q. In fact, when he was being sent to Kumasi and Dormaa, he was informed in the presence of his lawyer that he was under arrest for the purposes of the search?
A. Yes my lord.
Q. He was informed he was under arrest awaiting the search for these three searches?
A. Before the team left Accra to Kumasi and Dormaa, he was in our custody and he was already under arrest.

Q. And as the lead Investigator, you’re also aware that a search was conducted at his official residence, where he used to stay as Chief Executive of COCOBOD at Cantonment?
A. Yes.
Q. Mr. Gyang, you’re also aware that in his former official residence, the investigator excavated some parts of the residence on the basis that something has been kept underground and buried.

A. I can’t remember excavation had been carried on at the former residence of the former CEO.
Q. And in fact, when he was in your custody and under arrest, his lawyers were not allowed to go with him, when you are conducting your searches?

A. He had been told before the exercise took place. He brought in a counsel.
Q. In fact, cast your mind back, Paul Gyangyou actually threatened one of the counsel when he wanted to accompany A1?

A. My lord it is never true.
Q. And in fact, when you conducted all these searches, nothing was found in all these places, which has any connections with the changes?
A. Yes my lord, nothing was found in any of the premises connected to the allegations under investigation

Q. Let me remind you, cast your mind back, before they conducted the search, they did not give him prior notice on the day before, but they informed him on the day of the searches, when he was in the company of his lawyers at EOCO?

A. I will not be surprised my lord, because as part of best practices in investigation and for the purposes of that exercise, it was only proper that he was informed that very day.
Q. When you said he was given prior notice, what you meant was that you informed him in the day that you were going to conduct the search?

A. Yes.
Q. So Mr Gyang, in your investigation you remember you interviewed a lot of the Scientists at CRIG?

A. Yes my lord.
Q. And you also remember that some of the fertilisers and chemicals you were investigating, based on the complaint you had received from the complainant, you later found that they were tested and approved before the tenure of A1?

A. I think that came up as well.
Q. And contrary to the complaint that you initially received on lithovit and you were investigating the first accused, your investigation revealed that lithovit was received before the first accused joined COCOBOD?

A. I think that also came up.
Q. In fact, when you were conducting the investigation, PW1 Dr. Franklin Amoah was the Executive Director, or the head of CRIG?

A. Yes my Lord.
Q. And in fact, your investigation also revealed that PW1 was the person, who was the then head of CRIG when lithovit was first submitted to CRIG for testing, if you can remember?

A. My Lord I can’t remember.
Q. You would also remember that your investigation team went to CRIG during the course of the investigation?

A. Yes my Lord.


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