Osafo Maafo was the brain behind referral of Opuni case to Police –Counsel

Yaw Osafo Maafo, a former senior Minister in the Akufo-Addo government was the brain behind the referral of cocoa investigations at the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to the Ghana Police Service, court told.

Mr Osafo Maafo petitioned the Ghana Police Service to take up the investigation from EOCO at a time the latter was yet to complete its work.
The petition was directed to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police Service, for which EOCO investigators were directed by their Executive Director to handover the case docket to the sister investigation body.

According to Paul Agyei Gyang, a senior officer at the Operation Directorate of EOCO and lead investigator in the matter, although the directive came from their boss, he has no clue as to who petitioned the CID.

With this, Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, during the hearing of the case at the Land Division of the Accra High Court on Tuesday, informed Mr Gyang that it was Yaw Osafo Maafo.

The court, presided over by Justice Aboagye Tandoh, heard from Mr Gyang that investigation into the matter started in January 17, 2017 but was not brought to conclusion.

He said the complainant was Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, who also was the chairman of a committee on cocoa, during the transition period.
The other members are William Mensah and Dr Franklin Manu Amoah.
The court was told that there was a parallel investigation into the same matter by COCOBOD and EOCO.

In the year 2017, Dr Yaw Adu Amponsah, who had turned 65 years and was on retirement, was recalled by the new government to be resigned to the position of Deputy Chief Executive, in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control (A&QC).
Mr. Gyang, a subpoenaed witness of Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, had earlier told the court that Dr. Adu Ampomah was the one who submitted samples of Lithovit to have it tested.

The lithovit samples, which were submitted to EOCO by the complainant for investigation was sent to Ghana Standard Authority and the other to the Chemistry Department of University of Ghana in April 20, 2017 for testing.

The subpoenaed witness said the parallel investigation did not undermine the work of EOCO, as COCOBOD was performing pure administrative enquiries.
Mr. Gyang found it difficult to answer, when suggested to him by Lawyer Codjoe that it will be odd if EOCO investigation exonerated the then suspects, Dr Opuni, former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, businessman Seidu Agongo and his company Agricult Ghana Limited.

The first defence witness (DW1) for Seidu Agongo explained that he could not answer the question directly, because EOCO in the first place did not complete the investigation.
Already, the court had been told two contradictory reports that had been produced by the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) on lithovit. One of the examinations claims it is not a fertiliser while a subsequent one states otherwise.

It was also said that despite the diligent work of EOCO, it could not complete investigation by July 2017 whereas Adu Ampomah committee completed its investigation within a month.

Mr. Codjoe also informed the court about how some Members of Parliament from the ruling government were visiting EOCO during investigation of the matter and allegedly pressurised the investigators to make adverse findings of facts against then suspects.
DW1 for A2 and A3, however, said those incidents never came to his attention as the leader of the investigation team.

He said about eight cases were investigated by EOCO, in respect of lithovit, and none of the two farmers interviewed by the team said they drunk lithovit as stated earlier.
Mr William Mensah, who was said to have also been called back from retirement to re-occupy Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Financial and Administration (F&A) position at COCOBOD made the claim that farmers drunk lithovit on their farms and it tested like water.

Counsel for Opuni was of the view that if the allegation that farmers were drinking lithovit was anything to go by EOCO would have pursued it.
He further told the court that the Supreme Court has granted the application to lift the freezing order on Dr Opuni’s bank accounts at Ecobank and Standard Chartered bank.
The freezing order was in respect of GH¢25, 000 paid into Opuni’s account by Seidu Agongo.

Opuni is charged for procuring an alleged inferior lithovit fertiliser supplied by SeiduAgongo and Agricult Ghana Limited for COCOBOD to be used on matured cocoa.

The following is cross examination of two days;

Q: Mr Gyan, during your investigation, if you remember, you did not only invite the CRIG staff, you also invited farmers who have used lithovit. Do you remember?
A: Yes my lord.

Q: In fact, because EOCO is an investigation and not into cocoa, all these farmers who were invited were produced by COCOBOD. Is that not so?
A: Yes, my lord.

Q: And in fact, this lithovit fertiliser was used by the farmers on mature cocoa trees on their farms?
A: That is true my lord.

Q: Cast your mind back to when you had these interviews with them. How many farmers do you remember interviewing during the course of your investigations?
A: I can remember only two.

Q: Can you remember whether all the farmers you interviewed gave statements to EOCO?
A: I should think so my lord.
Q: You remember in the course of your investigations you would definitely have known the board members of COCOBOD at least during the time of investigations?

A: Yes my lord. If my memory serves me right the Board chair in the person of Ohene Agyekum was interviewed.
Q: But you’re aware that on the board you have a representative of farmers as board members?

A: Yes.
Q: And you also have the representative of the staff on the board of COCOBOD, that is the workers?
A: Yes my lord.

Q: You remember that one Nana ObengAkrofi in 2017, was a member of the board of COCOBOD representing farmers?
A: Yes my lord
Q: At that time Mr Daniel OheneAgyekum had ceased to be a board chairman because there been a change of government. Is that so?
A: That is so, my lord.

Q: Who was the new board chairman, does the name Hackman OwusuAgyeman ring a bell
A: Yes my lord.
Q: What was his position in COCOBOD?
A: My lord I think he was supposed to be the new board chairman.

Q: So in your investigations when you asked COCOBOD to bring farmers who had used the product, this request would have gone through the office of the complainant?
A: Exactly so my lord.
Q: And you are aware that the complainant i.e, Dr. Adu Ampomah, who was now the Deputy CE A&QC by virtue of his position was attending board meetings at COCOBOD?

A: Yes my lord.
Q: When you requested for farmers, one of the farmers brought by Dr AduAmpomah was his fellow board member Nana ObengAkrofi. You are aware of that

A: Yes my lord.
Q: This Nana Obeng Akrofi, that is the board member, gave a statement to EOCO. You’re aware of it?

A: It is so my lord.
Q: I believe this Nana ObengAkrofi is an illiterate, he cannot read and write?
A: My lord I can’t remember it is a long time.
Q: But I’m putting it to you, as a matter of fact, that this Nana Obeng Akrofi is an illiterate cocoa farmer?

A: If it is a fact, so it is.
Q: And that he cannot read and write?
A: If he is an illiterate, definitely he cannot read and write.
Q: You have in your hand Exhibit PP of this Nana Obeng Akrofi. The content is said to have been read and explained to him?

A: Yes.
Q: Can you identify the signature?
Prosecution: My lord, the Exhibit is part of the rejected
Samuel: It was not rejected. How can Honyenuga reject a documents tendered by prosecution. He rejected ours and admitted the ones from the prosecution.

Court: Let us check the records. We have all the rejected and the numbering is on it.
Prosecution: I had the impression that it was rejected. If it is not showing on the record…
Court: On the record, it doesn’t form part of the rejected exhibits.

Benson: Honyenuga could not have rejected prosecution exhibits. He rejected defense exculpatory evidence. My lord, this exhibit PP was tendered by the prosecution and was never rejected by Justice Honyenuga. When he was tying our hands at the back for you.

Q: Can you identify the signature of the person who explained the content to him?
A: It looks familiar but I cannot attached name.
Q: From his statement as it is contained before you, this board member stated that before using lithovit on his farm he used to obtain 50 bags. Can you read that?

A: Yes my lord.
Q: He states that after using lithovit, he had 52 bags and to him, lithovit was not really effective. That is what he states in his statement?

A: Yes my lord.
Q: But as an investigator who was the head of the investigation team, you interviewed numerous scientists including the complainant, Dr AduAmpomah on the factors which affect the yield of cocoa?
A: Yes we did.

Q: And all of them were explicit that we have various factors that affect yields including rainfall, the age of the cocoa trees, the proper application of the fertiliser etc. That is it
A: Exactly my lord.

Q: And it a truism, it is a fact true that from the statement made from ObengAkrofi he didn’t mention any of the factors which aid cocoa yield except fertiliser?
A: Yes my lord, you’re right.
Q; And in fact when EOCO took this statement, to your knowledge EOCO did not carry on further investigation on the other factors, which affect yields in the area where his farm was situated?

A: I don’t remember we did.
Q: And EOCO did not investigate as to whether this farmer who is illiterate uses the fertiliser in the proper way?
A: We did not my lord.

Q: But at least man who used lithovit would have previously used other fertilisers on the farm in the course of your investigations. Did you care to know that?
A: From the statement it is so.
Q. Now another farmer. If you can remember the name Emmanuel Obeng also gave a statement to EOCO?

A. Yes my lord. Obeng was there.
Q. And this man was not a board member of COCOBOD. If you will remember?
A. Yes.
Q. And his statement to EOCO, this man wrote the statement himself. This is a literate farmer as it can be seen

A. It been a while if he wrote it himself or not
Q. But what I have shown the rejected exhibit that is the statement written by him. It is Exhibit 69, subsequently, rejected by Honyenuga JSC in his chamber as R14. This farmer to your knowledge and that of the investigation team in the course of your investigation informed your people that lithovit was a very good liquid fertiliser?

A. It is so my lord
Q: So Mr AgyeiGyang, as at the time EOCO handed over the investigation to the police, the evidence you had from farmers who were introduced by COCOBOD itself was to the effect that lithovit liquid fertiliser was a good fertiliser?

A. My lord, as at the time we handed over the docket to the police, we had not considered on the subject matter especially the other factors he has raised we had not been able to go into it. But from the evidence gathered that was what the farmers were saying.

Q: I am suggesting to you that EOCO did not conclude its investigation of PW1 with respect to causing loss to state property as at the time it was ordered to hand over to the police?

A. That is so my lord
Q: That lithovit increased their yields?
A: my lord that is what they said

Q: look at Exhibit 3 and confirm that you were investigating PW1, the said Dr Franklin Manu Amoah for causing financial loss to the Republic?
A: My lord he was under investigation for causing loss to state property and not causing financial loss.

Q: You also interviewed the PW1, Dr. Franklin Manu Amoah who had been recalled from retirement as Executive Director of CRIG. Do you remember?
A: Yes my, lord I remember.

Q. Mr Gyan, this investigation on lithovit involved CRIG principally, and in your investigations you interviewed the staff of CRIG including the previous Executive Director namely, Gilbert John Anim Kwapong. If you can remember?

A. Yes I do remember, my lord
Q. Now, another of the scientists you interviewed was the previous Executive Director of CRIG at the time the certificate of lithovit was renewed. Exhibits 4 and 4A in 2015/2016 , if you can remember?

A. My lord I cannot remember.
Q: Now can you give me Exhibit R22. Can you have a look at Exhibit 127. As you can see this is one of the statements you took from AnimKwapong?
A. That is so my lord

Q: As you sit here, you cannot speculate that if EOCO had finished with the investigation you will charge him. Is that not so?
A. That is correct my lord.
Q: And if you can remember it wasn’t only lithovit, which was being investigated of which first accused gave statement to EOCO?

A. That is so my lord.
Q: During your investigation it came out that some of the chemicals of which you were investigating were already at COCOBOD before first accused became Chief Executive?
A. Per the statement that is so

Q: As you can see from page one, he is explicit that there were trained scientists led by Dr Richard Adu Acheampong who conducted the test on chemicals. Isn’t it?
A. It is so my lord

Q: And this investigation by EOCO was based on the complaint you received from COCOBOD through their complainant, Adu Ampomah?
A: That is so my lord.

Q: And in your investigation you confirm what was stated in exhibit 127 and specifically from line 17 downwards namely “that the CTCM had been in existence at CRIG for a long time and they were mandated to ensure that the procedure and protocols for the testing of chemicals and machines are adhered to”?

A. My lord, it is captured in the statement
Q: The then head of the CTCM, Mr Akrofi and the other members confirmed this to your investigator?
A. Yes lord, it’s been a long time so until I see something to substantiate it.

Q: You also remember investigating the members of the CTCM and in fact you took statements from some of them?
A: My lord we took statement from a lot of scientists

Q: if you cast your mind back,the issue of the mandate of the CTCM and its existence were actually investigated and they agreed that it existed at CRIG.
A. Yes my lord, but I still have to have a look at it

Q. Before you came to this realisation, you had a complaint that these fertilisers were not properly tested before purchase by COCOBOD?
A. That is so my lord.
Q: When you are taking statement from people, what you do is you normally interrogate and then you asked them to write their statement after the interrogation. That is the practice?

A. That is so my lord
Q: So that as in Exhibit 127, the Gilbert Anim Kwapong talks about the CTCM. It was because he was asked questions on it. Is that not so?
A. My lord, it could be so.

Q: So by saying AduAmpomah and co on one hand meant that they were in one group?
A. Yes my lord.

Q. Now, If you remember, in his statement thus exhibit 127, he informed you that even as EOCO was carrying out an investigation on the basis of complaint by Adu Ampomah, Adu Ampomah on his own has set up a team and he was invited to appear in February 2017 to come and meet Adu Ampomah and co. Turn to page 4, read from the sixth line. He informed EOCO that in February 2017 he was invited to a meeting, which had Dr Adu Ampomah, Mr William Mensah and Dr Amoah on one hand?

A. Yes my lord

Q. And these people constituted one team?
A. It so my lord.
Q: And your investigation with respect to lithovit, part of Dr Adu Ampomah conducting rival investigation has not been disputed?

A. Yes my lord
Q. So you can confirm that EOCO whiles conducting investigation into the efficacy of lithovit complained by Dr Adu Ampomah, this same Dr Adu Ampomah and his team were investigating the same matter. That is correct?
A. That is correct my lord

Q: And the issues that were discussed were the testing of chemicals and the efficacy of litovit. Can you confirm?
A. Yes my lord, I can confirm

Q: Now, you have subsequently become aware that after you have handed your investigation to the police and even before the first accused was charged with A2 and A3, has set up his own Committee in October 2017 and in November 2017 the Adu Ampomah Committee had already indicted the accused?

A: I have told this court earlier that I did not know of Exhibit H before I came here.
Q: Now that you know of Exhibit H, you can confirm from Exhibit H, which was tendered by prosecution and signed by Adu Ampomah in 2017, had set a committee to investigate the very matters he has sent to EOCO for further investigation?

A. Yes my lord you are right.
Q: Did you investigate this aspect that AduAmpomah at the time EOCO was conducting investigation based on his complaint was on his own conducting his own investigation?

A. My lord we did not.
Q: And if you can remember, Dr William Mensah had also been called back from retirement to cocoa board to assume his former position, which was Deputy CEO F and A?
A: Yes my lord, I remember

Q: But you confirm that as part of the diligent effort of EOCO by July 2017, you had not completed your investigation, which started in January but Adu Ampomah had completed his investigation within a month.
A: That is so according to the inference.

Q: He further informed you that he hadn’t received any adverse findings until one William Mensah informed him in 2017, that some farmers told him they drunk lithovit?
A. Yes my lord

Q: Now, according to the 9th line of Exhibit H, he stated that before renewal they take samples from the open market and also farmers are interviewed to get their views on a particular product including lithovit?
A. It is true.

Q: From your investigations, I am suggesting to you that the allegation that farmers were drinking litovit was never established. Isn’t that so? As none of the farmers you interviewed ever alluded to that statement?
A. I can’t remember any farmer telling the team that he drunk litovit as water.

Q: in fact, I am putting it to you, Mr Agyei, that from your investigations and the statement from the two farmers namely, Nana Obeng Akrofi of cocoa board and Emmanuel Obeng, litovit is a fertiliser and not water to be drunk.
A: My Lord one said he did not get the expected yield and the other said lithovit was good.

Q: And he told you that this statement farmers were drinking lithovit was made by Dr Mensah at a meeting in February, which had Dr William Mensah, Dr Adu Ampomah and Dr Franklin Amoah on one side?

A. Yes, he said so in the statement.
Q: Now, I am suggesting to you that this statement that lithovit was ineffective and tasted like water that is why you brought the complainant Dr Adu Ampomah to bring farmers who have used lithovit. That is so?

A: It is true my lord
Q: I am putting it to you that Dr Adu Ampomah (PW3) sought to undermine and manipulate the work of EOCO by having as a member of his parallel investigation team Dr Amoah, who was being investigated for causing loss to state concerning the lithovit investigations?

A. My lord, the office was not destructed for any form of investigations, we were on the task given us.
Q: And indeed if there existed any farmer who had drunk litovit, I am putting it to you that Dr William Mensah would have brought it to your notice and EOCO would have followed this lead and investigated the matter?

A. Presumably so my lord.
Q: I am further putting it to you that any investigation body will definitely be disturbed by it that a person who is being investigated for causing financial loss to public property is made a member of the parallel investigation concerning other suspects as in this case?

A. My Lord, they were pure administrative enquiries being done by COCOBOD.
Q: Now, Mr Gyan, I am suggesting to you that it would have been very odd that if EOCO as an independent body different from COCOBOD had completed its investigation and exonerated the suspects whilst the Adu Ampomah Committee of February 2017 had found them liable?

A. My lord, as we did not complete the investigation, it will be difficult for me say that it will be odd.
Q: In your experience as an investigator for over 30 years, I am suggesting to you that what Dr Adu Ampomah together Dr Amoah and William Mensah was doing, amounted to the undermining the work of EOCO.

A. My lord, I won’t say so because during investigations parallel administrative investigations could be going on at the same time
Q: But you have become aware at least from the investigator’s statement in court that the petitioner who petitioned that the case should be sent to the police is Yaw Osafo Maafo?

A: My lord, I received directives from my Executive Director to send the Docket to CID as to where the petition came from I don’t know.

Q: Can you confirm that in the course of your investigations, we had some Members of Parliament visiting EOCO with respect to this matter especially from ruling party?
A. My lord, I did not see any Members of Parliament

Q. I’m suggesting to you if you were not put under pressure, other members of the team were put under intense pressure to make adverse findings of facts against then suspects?
A. There is no way such a thing happened and as a lead member of the team and I will not be aware.



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