General News of Monday, 26 March 2018
Former Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Opuni, and the Chief Executive of Agricult Limited, Seidu Agongo, will appear before the Accra High Court Monday, to answer to 27 counts of various charges.
Dr Stephen Opuni is said to be the main brain behind the award of contracts totalling about $512 million during the transition period.
Dr Opuni, appointed on November 30, 2013, to head COCOCBOD, is alleged to have mismanaged the cocoa sector during four-year tenure.
He was one the first government appointees to be sacked by Akufo-Addo administration and was once headed the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
He was relieved of his post at the FDA on January 12, 2017, barely a week after the Akufo-Addo regime took office.
It is alleged that Dr Opuni awarded contracts to Mr Agongo’s company to import fertiliser although he knew Agricult Limited was in no position to execute the contract.
In February 2017, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) froze the assets of Dr Opuni as part of investigations into his tenure as CEO of COCOBOD.
His passport was seized and was subsequently invited by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) where he reportedly endured some six-long hours of questioning on a wide range of issues, including alleged massive corruption in the cocoa sector.
In March 2017, the government cancelled a contract worth GH¢255 million awarded by the John Mahama administration for the supply of farm inputs to cocoa farmers upon the advice of the newly inaugurated Board of Ghana Cocoa Board chaired by Hackman Owusu Agyemang.
The contract was for the supply of pesticides, weedicides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilizers to COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers throughout the country.
However, it was later detected that six companies involved in the supply of the chemicals all belong to one person, necessitating the abrogation, Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang revealed.