Opuni Trial: COCOBOD Chief Executive Determines & Approves Procured Agrochemicals
Opuni Trial: COCOBOD Chief Executive Determines & Approves Procured Agrochemicals
By Bernice Bessey
Peter Osei Amoako, Director of Finance of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has told an Accra High Court trying Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others that it is part of the responsibility of the Board’s Chief Executive to determine and approve quantity of fertilisers and agrochemicals to be purchased for a cocoa season.
This testimony was against an earlier testimony by Dr AduAmpomah, twice Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD, who told the court that Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control (CODAPEC), Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) and Cocoa Hi-Tech play a role in the determination of fertilisers and chemicals for each cocoa season.
Samuel Cudjoe, lawyer for Dr Opuni, as a result confronted Mr Osei Amoako to explain the reasons for which his answer deviates from that of Dr AduAmpomah.
However, Mr Osei Amoako, 6th Prosecution Witness (PW6) in the trial, responded that he has not heard Dr AduAmpomah make that statement.
PW6 further told the court, presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga that, he did not know the seed production, CHED and Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) unitshave been part of the determination of quantities to be procured for CODAPEC and HI-TEC.
Q. Mr Osei Amoako, you told this court that you were made the Director of Finance in 2017. Do you still maintain that?
A. Yes my Lord
Q. In fact, as at July 2017 you were acting and not substantive, isn’t it?
A. Yes my Lord
Q. When were you appointed as Director of Finance?
A. My Lord, I was appointed in July 2017 and confirmed … My Lord I don’t have the record. I was confirmed in September 2017.
Q. So that when you informed this court that you were appointed as DOF for four years, you were not telling the true?
A. Yes my Lord, I was appointed to act in January and at the time when I was appointed, there was no substantive Director of Finance because the Director of Finance at that time was on retirement and was serving on contract. My Lord, I was not acting for anybody at that time.
Q. And in fact,Mr Osei Amoako, all documents you signed prior to your appointment in 2017, you were signing as Acting Director of Finance and not Director of Finance?
Q. I am putting it to you that you deliberately misled this court by claiming to have been in the position of Director of Finance for four years?
A. No my Lord.
Q. I am putting it further to you, that you consciously made this statement in order to give credit to the fact that you are well vest in procurement matters at COCOBOD?
A. No. My Lord, I can explain. I said in COCOBOD, before November 2018, the procurement department was a unit under the Finance Department and my work as Acting DOF and substantive up to November 2018, covered the duties of Director of Finance, including all procurement processes.
Q. In fact,Mr Osei Amoako, the then procurement unit, according to your own evidence, was under your department from January 2017 to November 2018. A period of less than two years, isn’t it?
A. My Lord, it is a period of two years.
Q. Mr Osei Amoako, at the time you were appointed as Acting, the Procurement unit hadMr James Akutek as the Manager?
A. Yes. My Procurement Manager was Mr James Akutek, he was transferred in the same January 2017, when I was made the Acting Director of Finance.
Q. You are also aware that Mrs Bernice Ashong was the …Manager of the Procurement Unit from 2014 till 2017 January, isn’t it?
A. Yes, when I was appointed as Acting Director of Finance, Mrs Bernice Ashong has been transferred.
Q. So that,Mr Osei Amoako, between you and these two people, namely Mrs Bernice Ashong and James Akutek, they have more knowledge on procurement than yourself?
A. No. In COCOBOD if you look at the structure, which ever unit or division or subsidiary or corporate head office that we have account manager, the account manager of the unit, division, subsidiary or corporate head is always in charge of finance and procurement
Q. I am putting it to you that Mrs Bernice Ashong. Who was Procurement Manager from 2014 to 2017 and James Akutek who was also Procurement Manager have better knowledge on the procurement proceedings at the HOF than you?
A. No my Lord. They are not the substantive heads…
Q. In fact, these two persons are still in the employment of COCOBOD, isn’t?
Q. Mr Osei Amoako …your position as Senior Manager… the next step is Deputy Director, before Director, isn’t it?
A. Yes my Lord
Q. In fact, you were not made a Duty Director but you were jumped straight to the position of substantive director, after acting for some months?
A. Yes. As a level of a Senior Manager, it is the decision of the executive to appoint the director. I want to say that at the time of my appointment, I was the senior among my colleagues. There are instances where Managers are appointed to the position of directors. So my lord, appointment of directors is recommended by the executive to the board of directors
Q. According to what you told the court on November 5, 2020 the person who has oversight over all financing, together with procurement, is the Deputy Chief Executive Finance & Administration?
A. Yes. The Finance & Administration have oversight responsibility on finance, procurement, general services, the clinic and human resource. Under the Finance & Administration there are directors who have direct supervision over these departments and they report to the Finance & Administration. My lord, I have supervision over the finance and procurement units.
Q. Mr Osei Amoako from January 2013 to December 2016, you were not working in the Corporate Division of the COCOBOD, isn’t it?
A. Yes my lord, before 2013, I had worked in the Corporate Head Office Finance Department as Deputy Accounts Manager for six years.
Q. Now Mr Osei Amoako, if you have knowledge about the procurement proceedings in COCOBOD then you will definitely know that COCOBOD have Entity Tender Committee through which all procurements including sole source procurement go before it?
A. Yes. COCOBOD has Entity Tender Committee.
Q. Now Mr Osei Amoako before agrochemicals, i.e. pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers are purchased, the user department or unit, will send the list of the pesticides, fungicides and fertilisers for a particular year to the procurement unit, now a department?
A. My Lord yes. The user unit will send their budget to the procurement unit for ….as part of the consolidated budget and it will be captured in the procurement ….The determination of quantities is not done by the user departments.
Q. Now Mr Osei Amoako, what you just said covers when the budget is being prepare. My question is after the budget had been prepared, it is the HITEC and CHED, which will meet together and determined the kind and types of fertilisers to be purchased for cocoa season?
A. No my Lord, CHED doesn’t play any role.
Q. In fact, the former deputy Chief Executive in the person of Dr AduAmpomah said CHED plays a role in the determination of fertilisers and chemicals to be purchased for cocoa season. Do you agree with this?
A. My Lord, I have not heard Dr AduAmpomah make that comment.
Q. So I will assume that your answer is no?
A. My Lord, I don’t know. I have not heard Dr AduApomoah make that comment.
Q. CODAPEC and HITEC are the user units for fertilisers and agrochemicals in general in COCOBOD, isn’t?
Q. In fact, these user units, i.e. CODAPEC and HITEC are the ones that will submit the list for chemicals and fertilisers?
A. Yes my Lord, I want to explain. CODAPEC and HITEC will submit their budgets to be consolidated and extracts of the consolidated budget are picked into the procurement plan. In the procurement you will have the total quantities and the values. The initiation of fertilisers and chemicals …is in the budget to be determined by the Chief Executive.
Q. I am saying that Mr Osei Amoako, in your evidence to this court you stated that fertilisers are … and items are linked to particular companies?
Q. It is CODAPEC and HITEC, which will indicate to the procurement the kinds of fertilisers they will require for each cocoa season?
A. Yes, my Lord. Indication does not mean purchases or does not constitutes approval purchases
Q. Can you have a look at this contract. This a contract you witnessed for the purchase of a fertilizer, isn’t it?
Q. Do you have your signature on it?
Q. And, you witnessed this contract signed by the current Chief Executive, Joseph BoahenAidooo?
Q. What is the date of the contract from the first page?
Q. Mr Osei Amoako, mention the contract number
A. My lord, the contract number is GCB/EU/HITEC/2017/13/vol…/01
Q. What did you sign as, or you witnessed in what capacity?
A. I witnessed as Acting Director of Finance.
Q. Mr Osei Amoako, the unit which determines the fertiliser and constitute for which you signed this contract is HITEC?
A. My Lord no. This reference here is a reference by procurement unit/HITEC to creates their files as per the PPA regulation …
Q. So that Mr Osei Amoako, when you signed this contract it was the user divisions or units of COCOBOD, which requested for this Natural ASOUTEM Liquid Fertiliser to be supplied by K. Badu Agrochemical?
Q. Who made the determination to purchase this fertiliser?
A. My Lord, it is the Chief executive.
Q. Can you have a look at this contract dated 16th day of June 2018?
Q. Did you also witness this contract?
A. My Lord, looking at the contract I cannot say I witnessed this contract.
Q. Is that you signature?
A. My Lord no.
Q. Has COCOBOD purchased a fertiliser named No1 fertiliser during your time as Acting and substantive Director of Finance from Kumark company?
A. My lord, I don’t recollect
Q. So Mr Osei Amoako, I am putting it to you that in COCOBOD, before fertilisers are purchased, it is the user units and not the Chief Executive, which indicates the kind and type of fertiliser that was purchased between 2014 and 2016?
A. My Lord, I disagree.
Q. In fact, were you there between 2014 and 2016?
A. No My lord.
Q. And in fact, after the quantities and specific type of fertilisers are stated by the user units, thus CODAPEC and HITEC, it is sent to the procurement units to begin the procurement process?
A. My Lord, the procurement process for chemical and fertilisers is determined and approved by the Chief Executive.
Q. If you say it is determined and approved by the Chief Executive, then the Chief Executive can approve a request before…?
Q. In fact, contrary to what you just said, Dr AduAmpomah, who is a two time Deputy Chief Executive in his evidence on the 7th day of November 2019 before this court, in answer to a question on page 4 of the proceedings, agreed that it is the CODAPEC, HITEC and CHED together with the seed production units and CRIG that are the units which specify the quantity of fertilisers require for a year, what do you say to that?
A. My Lord, I don’t know the seed production, CHED and CRIG been part of the determination of quantities to be procured for CODAPEC and HITEC. I have said that the units will submit their budgets and the determination of quantities to be purchased is by the Chief Executive.
Case adjourned to November 19, 2020.