The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, has set aside the ruling of the High Court to start the trial of Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others ‘De Novo.’
The decision was delivered yesterday following an appeal filed by the Attorney General (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame, against the High Court ruling. The High Court will, therefore, adopt proceedings from where the retired Supreme Court Justice, Clemence Honyenuga, left off after almost six years.
Justice Kwasi Anokye Gyimah, who took over the case in March this year, ruled that the criminal trial starts afresh on April 4, because it would be unfair for him to adopt the proceedings of Justice Honyenuga, which had been “saddled” with numerous allegations.
Justice Gyimah charged the prosecution and accused persons to file witness statements, following his ruling to start ‘De Novo’.
Before this present decision by the appellate court, the prosecution had requested that the High Court adjourn the case twice to enable it locate its witnesses, which some had refused to testify again.
The unwillingness on the part of the prosecution witnesses to testify became a major hurdle for the A-G and his team to file their witness statements.
The trial court, in granting the prosecution’s prayer to find its witnesses to comply with its orders, adjourned to July 12, 2023, for continuation.
However, it has been reported that a third judge had been appointed to take over the case, as Justice Gyimah had been transferred to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
Dr. Opuni is a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), and he has been accused alongside businessman Seidu Agongo and his company, Agriculture Ghana Limited.
They are being tried for allegedly causing GH¢217 million financial loss to the state in the supply and purchase of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser.