Court Exercises Authority for Proper Presentation of Documents

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An Accra High Court has overruled an objection raised by the prosecution in the case involving Dr Stephen Opuni, the former CEO of COCOBOD and one other for documents to be tendered through its witness.

The court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenugah, an Appeal Court Judge said upon hearing objection against tendering of the documents, he was of the opinion that the second prosecution witness had participated in most of the documents sorted to be tendered.

He said under the circumstances that the documents would be allowed to be tendered through the prosecution witness as they were relevant and could go in for whatever its weight.

Mr Benson Nutsukpui, lawyer for Mr Seidu Agongo Chief Executive Officer of Agricult Ghana, in a cross-examination of Dr Alfred Arthur, a Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) sorted to tender a document including emails, letters and test reports and its attachments through the witness but the prosecution objected.

Mrs Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution representing the state in her objection said the documents counsel for the accused seeks to tender through the witness were made up of letters, emails and test reports.

She said some of the documents were obviously not signed by the witness and they were not documents he has seen before and could not answer questions on them.

She explained that the Prosecution was not against the tendering of documents signed by the witness or emails sent to him or copied him.

She said the objection raise were on documents the witness did not author and have not seen before.

The Prosecution said it has issues with a document titled “Submission of final testing report on Cocoa Nti fertilizer signed by Dr Anim Kwarpong.

Mr Nutsukpui said these documents were coming from CRIG’s custody and indeed the witness identified that they were filed pursuant to the orders of the court by the Lawyer for COCOBOD on behalf of the then Executive Director, Dr Franklin Manu Amoah.

He said they have demonstrated that all the documents were relevant to the Cocoa Nti issue and the witness while laying foundation admitted that each and everyone of the document related to the issue.

He said it was their submission that the witness should not be the authored of an official document to tender same through him.

The Defence Counsel said it was opened to the witness to answer questions on official documents, he knows about.

He said these were official documents filed at the court registry on the orders of the court and explained that interestingly the document has the same heading running through all.

He said these documents are a letter dated 26/11/2016 signed by Dr Anim Kwarpong with heading ‘Submission of final report on the testing of Cocoa Nti fertilizer, another letter dated 26/10/2016 signed by Francis Oppong also had the same heading re-submission of final report on the testing of Cocoa Nti fertilizer’.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by 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 each self-recognisance bail.

The trial judge, who is sitting as an additional High Court Judge adjourned the trial to Monday, February 25, for continuation.

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