Witnesses not willing to testify in Opuni trial -Deputy A-G

Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, Deputy Minister for Justice and Attorney-General (A-G), says prosecution witnesses are not willing to testify in the trial of Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others.

Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni

According to him, not only are the prosecution witnesses unwilling to testify in the case, but some are also on retirement.

This, he said, was preventing the prosecution the chance of filing witness statements, as ordered by the court at the last adjourned date, April 4.

Mr. Tuah-Yeboah, therefore, prayed the court to give the prosecution 30 more days to enable them file the witness statements.

He explained that some of the witnesses refused to testify, because they had mounted the witness box for two years.

The Trial High Court, presided over by Justice Kwasi Anokye Gyimah, hearing the case ‘de novo,’ ordered the prosecution and defense sides to file statements of their witnesses and accused persons.

However, on the return date, which was yesterday, Tuesday, April 25, 2023, the prosecution failed to do so, hence, the explanation from the Deputy A-G.

Justice Gyimah granted the Deputy A-G’s prayer and scheduled the next hearing date to June 7, 2023.

At the last trial heard by Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga (rtd), the prosecution called seven witnesses, while the first accused, Dr. Opuni, called seven out of eight defence witnesses.

The second and third accused persons, Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, indicated that they would be calling about 35 witnesses.

However, it is not clear whether both the prosecution and the accused persons would be calling the same number of witnesses this time round.

Dr. Opuni was the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Seidu Agongo is a businessman and CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited.

Agricult Ghana Limited was the supplier of the controversial Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser, which was supplied to COCOBOD at the cost of GH¢271.3 million.

The three have been charged with 27 counts of defrauding by false pretence, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by public officers in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The accused persons have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.


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