Politics of Sunday, 18 March 2018
A former Member of Parliament for the North Dayi constituency, George Loh is protesting against the legal action initiated against former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni, suggesting that the state is not treating him fairly.
According to him, the specific charge of causing financial loss to the state cannot be held against Mr. Opuni since no individual or group of cocoa farmers have publicly claimed he supplied ineffective fertilizers during his tenure.
Speaking on The Big Issue, George Loh cautioned against the deliberate persecution of former government officials, noting that there must be “prosecution and not persecution.”
He indicated that the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, must equally be charged for supplying ineffective chemicals worth millions of dollars to farmers at the height of the fall armyworm outbreak in the country.
“Is Nana Addo not seeing that his Minister for Agriculture [Dr. Afriyie Akoto], bought chemicals [worth] millions of dollars and the farmers who used it, came out publicly and told the minister that these are bogus chemicals? Nana Addo is asleep, he hasn’t heard that. And that one, it cannot go for EOCO, it cannot go for trial… The fall armyworm case, where we spent millions of dollars to buy chemicals that did not work, that one the Minister did not cause financial loss to the state?” he quizzed.
“This one [Dr. Opuni’s case], no farmer has come to say the chemicals didn’t work. In fact, records even show that we had actually improved our cocoa yield. No technical person has come out to say the fertilizer did not meet the standards,” he added.
‘Dr. Opuni charged’
The Attorney General last week filed some 27 counts including a charge of causing financial loss to the state against Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.
He is being sued together with one Seidu Agongo, CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited, beneficiaries of a supposed fraudulent fertilizer contract worth over GH¢43 million.
The first court hearing has been scheduled for March 23, 2018.
But Mr. George Loh, who is also a private legal practitioner said the state must be fair in dealing with such matters.
“All I’m saying in simple terms is that, when people have done wrong in this country, they must be prosecuted, but not persecuted,” he told the host of The Big Issue, Selorm Adonoo on Saturday.
Opuni’s prosecution a case of ‘injustice’
Meanwhile, the National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams, has described the prosecution of the former COCOBOD boss as injustice.
He said the government is only making frantic efforts to cause public disaffection towards the previous NDC administration by smearing former state officials with allegations of corruption and initiating legal action against them for same, although its own officials have been cited for various acts of corruption.