General News of Sunday, 18 March 2018
Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho says the party is hopeful that justice will be served in the case that has been filed against the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and two others.
Speaking to GhanaWeb editor, Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on ’21 minutes with KKB’ Mr Anyidoho said the party will support Dr Stephen Opuni with the needed legal and technical assistance to ensure that he receives a fair trial.
According to him, “these are just allegations and we have a justice system that operates, and we believe operates fairly, so the courts will talk”.
“We’ll support with lawyers and technical assistance and we believe that justice will prevail at the end of the day,” he added.
Dr Opuni is the first government appointee under the erstwhile Mahama-led government to be charged for causing financial loss to the state by the Attorney General under the Akufo-Addo-led government.
The former COCOBOD CEO who is facing 27 charges together with Businessman and Chief Executive Officer of Zeera Group of Companies as well as AgriCult Company Limited, Alhaji Seidu Agongo, is expected to make his first appearance in court on Friday, March 23, 2018.
The Attorney General’s office argues that three accused persons wilfully caused financial loss of GH¢217 million to the state through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016.
The contracts were GH¢43.1million (2013/2014 cocoa farming season), GH¢75.3million (2014/2015 cocoa farming season) and GH¢98.9million (2015/2016 cocoa farming season) totalling GH¢217million through sole-sourcing, the state claimed, adding that procurement procedures for sole-sourcing were not followed.
According to the charges brought against the two, the consignments of Lithovit Foliar were produced locally, contrary to an agreement between COCOBOD and AgriCult Ghana Company Limited that it be sourced from Germany.
Also, the state claims the fertilisers were manufactured without registration, thereby, flouting the Plants and Fertiliser Act 2010.
Dr Opuni, the state alleges, also took a bribe of GH¢25,000 from Mr Agongo in October 2014 to facilitate the award of one of the contracts by misrepresenting facts to the Public Procurement Authority.
The state also said the 2014 contract was awarded without any price quotation.
The National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress, Kofi Adams, has however described the charges as a witch-hunt.