Mr Patrick de Boussac, Chief Executive of CTPC (left) exchanging copies of the signed agreement with Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive of COCOBOD
Mr Patrick de Boussac, Chief Executive of CTPC (left) exchanging copies of the signed agreement with Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, Chief Executive of COCOBOD

The Attorney General has charged Dr Stephen Opuni, former Chief Executivee Officer (CEO) of the Cocoa Board with various counts of charges including wilfully causing financial loss to the state and 26 other charges.

The former CEO was charged with one Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited.

Some of the charges were abetment of crime and defrauding by false pretence, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, manufacturing fertilizer without registration, money laundering and corruption by a public officer.

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney, who filed the case at the High Court on behave of the State indicated hearing of the case would begin on Friday, March 23, 2018.

Some of the charges are conspiracy to commit crime, selling misbranded fertilizer and selling adulterated fertilizer.

In February 2017, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) froze the assets of Dr Opuni as part of investigations into his period as CEO of COCOBOD.

Dr Opuni was relieved of his post on January 12, 2017.

Out of the 27 charges against them, six of them are on counts of abetment of crime namely, defrauding by false pretense contrary to sections 20(1) and 131(1) of the Criminal Offenses Act, 1960 (Act 29).

On abetment of crime and defrauding by false pretence, Dr Opuni between January 2014 and November 2014 was said to have abetted Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited to defraud COCOBOD of the sum of GhC43,120,000.

Between November 2014 and November 2015, Dr Opuni according to the State again abetted Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Ltd to defraud COCOBOD of the sum of GHC75,289,314.72.

According to the State, Agongo was said to have represented to COCOBOD that he would supply Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer from Germany for application by farmers on cocoa for the 2014/2015 cocoa season, a representation the State said Mr Agongo knew to be false at the time of making it.

Between October 2015 and March 2016, a similar incident according to the state happened which led to COCOBOD being defrauded to tune of GHC98,935,974.50.

On the charge of conspiracy to commit crime namely, Wilfully causing financial loss to the State contrary to sections 23 (1) and 179A(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), the State said the two during the period mentioned agreed to act together with a common purpose to wilfully cause financial loss to the State.

In the area of contravention of Public Procurement Act, the State said in procuring the services of Seidu Agongo and Agricult, Dr Opuni also contravened the Public Procurement Act contrary to sections 92 (1) and 40 (1)(a) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).

Dr Opuni was said to have procured the supply of a substance described as “Lithovit Liquid Fertilizer” using public funds without satisfying the prescribed conditions for single-source procurement.

He allegedly influenced the procurement process by misrepresenting facts to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) in order to obtain unfair advantage in the award of a contract to Agricult Ghana Limited.

On corruption by public officer, the State claimed that on October 10, 2014, Dr Opuni agreed to permit his conduct as CEO of COCOBOD to be influenced by an amount of GHC25,000.00 from Seidu Agongo.

On the charge of money laundering contrary to section 1(1) (c) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749), Seidu Agongo and Agricult were said to have taken possession of the monies mentioned knowing it to be proceeds of crime.

Another charge against Seidu Agongo and Agricult is that they manufactured fertilizer in commercial quantities without registration and sold misbranded fertilizer contrary to section 113 (1)(b) of the Plants and Fertilizer Act, 2010 (Act 803).

GNA

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