Witness defends Dr Opuni, says he never perpetuated fraud

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Dr Stephen Opuni
Dr Stephen Opuni

Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum, the fourth defence witness in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni and two others, says Dr Opuni certainly did not perpetuate any fraud.

He said, “I can state that, as far as l am aware, Dr Opuni never acted in a way that could have influenced the decision of either the Board or the Entity Tender Committee (ETC).”

Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, Counsel for Seidu Agongo, in a further cross examination of the witness, said in his dual capacity as chairman for both the Board and the ETC, such a thing never happened.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully 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 GHs300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

The Counsel asked the witness whether he was aware of a test conducted on Lithovit liquid fertilizer by the University of Ghana, where they said they had barely any properties that would make it effective, the witness answered in the negative.

The witness said he was not made aware any of such scientific report.

He said what he wanted to add was that, “if you conduct a scientific research in a classroom and you draw the conclusion, such as the one drawn by the University, then I will state that, it is not certainly the same Lithovit liquid fertilizer that the Board had purchased and provided to the farmers free of charge.”

Mr Nutsukpui asked the witness that since he left office, was he aware of any test carried out that cast any doubt on the efficacy of the Lithovit liquid fertilizer that the Board had procured for the cocoa farmers? The witness said, never.

The Defence at this stage ended its cross examination of the fourth defence witness. It would be the turn of the State to cross examine the witness.

Case adjourned to June 24, 2022.

Meanwhile, the Court will take the next witness on June 13, 2022 out of turn until Mr Ohene Agyekum concludes his cross examination.

Mr Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni, said they did not know that Dr Opuni was not aware that they were going to take the witnesses out of turn.

“This is more so when the other witnesses to be called are all persons who have been subpoenaed and majority of whom are out of Accra,” he said.

He said it was almost impossible for them to get the witnesses to come to court on Monday June 13, 2022.

The Counsel said for this reason, they asked that the Court gave them a week to enable them to get their subpoenaed witnesses.

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief Staff Attorney, said it was reasonable that the Court continued with the hearing of the case by taking another witness pending the cross examination of DW4 on June 24.

“My understanding is that, when witnesses are subpoenaed, they are given dates to appear before the Court and one of them even appears before the registrar sometimes last week,” she said.

She said it was their submission therefore that it was reasonable for the Court to adjourn the case to Monday to allow the fifth defence witness to testify.

“I think the registrar of the Court should be able to help or assist the court in this regard since these witnesses are subpoenaed witnesses,” she added.

The Court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, said it was his considered opinion that the case must proceed and considering Counsel plea that Monday was too short for him to produce next witness, “I shall accede to the request and grant him an adjournment to Wednesday June 15, to produce the fifth witness.”

He said the Registrar of the Court was to assist Counsel in any of his request
Consequently, case is adjourned to Wednesday June 15, 2022.

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