The Accra High Court has ordered former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, and businessman Seidu Agongo, to open their defence.
Justice Clemence Honyenuga, gave the order Friday, May 7, 2021 after he dismissed a submission of no case filed by lawyers for the accused persons. Dr Opuni and Agongo, CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, are on trial for allegedly engaging in illegalities in a series of fertiliser transactions, which the Attorney-General says caused a financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state.
In dismissing the submission of no case, Justice Honyenuga held that the prosecution had been able to establish a prima facie case in 24 of the 27 charges against the two accused. Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as a High Court judge, subsequently ordered the accused persons to open their defence with regard to the 24 charges.
Dr Opuni was the CEO of the COCOBOD between November 2013 and January 2017, while Agongo is the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, an agrochemicals company.
The two were dragged to court by the Attorney-General (A-G) in March 2018 on 27 charges for allegedly engaging in illegalities in a series of fertiliser transactions, which the A-G says caused a financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state.
Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to the COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by allowing Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.
The two accused persons have pleaded not guilty to all the 27 charges, and are on self-recognisance bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.