Opuni trial begins

A case involving the former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, and the Government of Ghana yesterday commenced at the Accra High Court.

A witness in the trial testified that the embattled former COCOBOD CEO directed scientists to reduce the testing period for agrochemicals.

The Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Dr Franklin Manu Amoah, and the first prosecution witness, told the court that Dr Opuni gave the directive shortly after taking office as COCOBOD boss.

According to the witness, Dr Opuni said his directive was to reduce the high cost of agrochemicals and also prevent few companies from monopolising agrochemicals for cocoa.

And as a result of the directive, Dr Amoah said, testing on Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser for matured cocoa sold by Agricult Ghana Limited was reduced to six months instead of the stipulated minimum period of two years.

The said fertiliser is the centre of the trial in which Dr Opuni and the CEO of Agricult, Seidu Agongo, have been accused of causing financial loss of Ghc271.3M to the state.

It is the case of the Attorney General that Dr Opuni and Agongo allegedly engaged in certain illegalities that led to the purchase of substandard fertiliser and caused the state Ghc271.3 million.

The Managing Director of agro firm, Agricult Ghana Limited, Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo, were dragged to court by the Attorney General for causing financial loss to the state after they allegedly acted illegally in a fertiliser deal that cost COCOBOD GHC271.3 million.

The said fertilizer, according to the AG, was meant for cocoa farmers

 

Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH

Writer’ email: kofi.tawiah@todaygh.com

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