Analyzed lithovit liquid fertilizer was dilute-Witness

Dr .Stephen Opuni

Dr Emmanuel Yaw Osei-Twum, the fifth Prosecution witness in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni and two others, says the Lithovit liquid fertilizer submitted for analysis was dilute.

“We concluded that the solution was very dilute,” he said.

Dr Osei-Twum, who is a lecturer at the Chemistry Department, University of Ghana, giving his evidence in chief led by Mr Evelyn Keelson, the Chief State Attorney, said in April 2017, the Department had a request from the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to analyze a sample for them.

He said the sample was a liquid sample of Lithovit fertilizer in a plastic bottle and that in May the same year, they carried out the analysis.

He said per the terms, they were to determine the constituents available in the sample and to find out how much of each was in the sample.

He said the Department was also to tell EOCO, whether the sample presented was fertilizer or not.

Dr Osei-Twum said they prepared the sample by treating it with acid and submitted it to what was called acidic absorption spectroscopy and the rest was to calculate to find out how much of its constituents were present.

Mrs Keelson asked the witness to tell the court, the outcome of the analysis and the witness said “we found calcium carbonate at 3.22 per cent, magnesium carbonate at 0.48 per cent, while other compounds are very low in amounts.”

The Prosecution presented a document for the witness to identify, which the witness said it was the report submitted to EOCO.

The State Attorney asked the witness, who at the Department conducted the analysis and Dr Osei-Twum said the lead analysts were Professor Augustine Kwame Donkor and himself and was signed by Dr Louis Doamekpor, Head of the Department.

Asked to explain page six of the report, the witness said the first column on the left was labeled parameter and they were supposed to determine the constituents of Lithovit for which the conducted literature.

“Later on we obtained the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that confirmed what we have found in the literature,” he said.

Explaining further, Dr Osei-Twum, who is an Associate Professor at the University of Ghana, said the results indicated that all the constituents in percentages were very low.

He said looking at page 8 of the report, Lithovit was a nano-fertilizer and was used as an alternative to conventional fertilizer on vegetables, citrus, cotton and rice farms.

“Sample brought to the Department by EOCO was identified as Lithovit fertilizer,” he added.

He said the application of Lithovit on Cocoa farms from nursery to the growth and yield stages, remained experimental, because currently there was no evidence for its application on Cocoa plants.

The Lecturer said per their recommendation, preliminary investigations should be conducted before widespread use.

He said since Lithovit was base, it was advisable to avoid acidic soil, hence the pH of all soil in the Cocoa growing area should be determined prior to the use of lithovit.

He said the composition on the MSDS had Calcium carbonate as 84.5 per cent but their analysis had Calcium carbonate as 3. 22 per cent, while magnesium carbonate was 4. 6 per cent and their test results was 0.48 per cent.

The witness ended his evidence in chief as Mr Samuel Cudjoe, counsel for Dr Opuni, cross-examined him.

Mr Cudjoe asked the witness, whether he knew the accused person but he answered in the negative.

Asked, whether the sample tested by the Department had any connection with the first accused person, Dr Opuni, but the witness said, “l do not know him.”

“Did A1 give you the sample, which your Department tested?” Mr Cudjoe asked, but the witness told the Court that he had never met the accused person or any of his representatives.

The Counsel enquired from the witness, whether he was a permanent staff of the Department and he answered in the affirmative.

Mr Cudjoe said the witness had passed the retirement age and could not still be at post but the witness said the testing was done by them and he was still a permanent staff but currently, he was a part-time lecturer.

He asked the witness, whether EOCO briefed him before the testing but he said he was not briefed.

The Counsel pointed to the witness that the Department was briefed on the investigation EOCO was doing but the witness said if the Department had been briefed, then whoever might have been briefed should be the Head of the Department.

Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, the Counsel for Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, asked the witness, whether he and one Prof Donkor wrote the report and he said they prepared the report.

He asked the witness to tell the court, what he meant by preparing the report and the witness said they put together the data, formatted the data and prepared the data in a way the report should be written.

Asked, who wrote the report, the witness said the Department had a secretary, who wrote reports for scientists.

Whether, the witness reviewed the report, he answered in the affirmative.

The Counsel asked the witness, whether he knew that apart from Cocoa, COCOBOD regulated other crops but the witness answered in the negative.

Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognisance bail each.

The trial was adjourned to October 27, 2020, for further cross-examination by Mr Nutsukpui.


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