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Court dismisses Opuni’s submission of no case; ordered to open defence on May 17

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The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Clemence Jackson Honyernugah has ordered Dr Opuni and two others to open their defence in the COCOBOD trial.

Ruling on a submission of no case, the court said, the Prosecution succeeded in proving all the charges against the accused person.

The court said it is convinced that a prima case has been established against Dr Opuni and the two others.

Meanwhile, the court has acquitted and discharged Seidu Agongo and his company of three of the 27 charges, counts (22, 23 and 24).

Dr Opuni has been ordered to mount his defence on May 17, 2021.

Charges

Dr. Opuni, Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited are standing trial for 27 charges of causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretences, conspiracy to commit crime, abetment of crime, money lingering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the PPA Act.

Together, they are accused of causing a financial loss of over GH¢217 million to the state through the sale and purchase of the controversial Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser, which according to the prosecution, was never tested.

Submissions of no case

Dr. Stephen K. Opuni and private businessman, Seidu Agongo, filed separate applications asking the court to acquit and discharge them in their ongoing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.

They are facing 27 counts including causing financial loss of over GH¢217 million to the state through the supply and purchase of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser for COCOBOD.

The accused persons in their respective submission of no case are arguing that the prosecution at the end of its case failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove any of the 27 charges levelled against them.

Arguments

Dr. Opuni through his counsel, Samuel Codjoe, argued that he has no case to answer on the “basis that no evidence has been led by the prosecution to establish any or all of the ingredients of the offences for which 1st accused is standing trial.”

He argued that “the prosecution has failed to make out a sufficient case to warrant calling 1st accused to open his defence.”

For his part, Seidu Agongo and his Agricult Ghana Limited, the company that entered into the Lithovit transaction and for which reason it has been charged alongside the owner (Agongo), are arguing that “while there is generally no evidence against the 2nd accused person (Seidu Agongo), what little evidence the prosecution purported to have offered against the 3rd accused person (Agricult Ghana Limited) on any of the charges had been very much discredited during cross-examination or otherwise so manifestly unreliable, rendering any such evidence of the prosecution unsafe so that this honourable court cannot reasonably or safely rely on same to convict the applicants herein in the absence of an explanation from them.”

Prosecution’s case

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa who led the prosecution, called seven witnesses to testify in the case.

All the witnesses were vigorously cross-examined by defence lawyers, some spanning about six months.

On March 29, 2021, the prosecution ended its case after Chief Inspector Thomas Prempeh Mercer, the investigator and the seven witness was cross-examined by the defence lawyers.

The court presided over by Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, a Supreme Court judge sitting with additional responsibilities as a High Court judge, invited them to mount defence.

AG argument

Opposing to the accused persons submission of no case, the AG’s Department argued that, they have adduced sufficient evidence to compel former CEO of COCOBOD, Dr. Opuni, and Seidu Agongo, and his Agricult Ghana Limited, to open their respective defence.

It was the case of the AG that the state was able to prove all the elements in the 27 charges levelled against Dr. Opuni, Agongo and Agricult, who are standing trial for causing financial loss to the state.

The AG is therefore urging an Accra High Court hearing the case to dismiss the applications for submission of no case filed by the accused persons and order them to open their defence.

The prosecution, in responding to the submissions of no case filed by lawyers for the accused persons, said it was able to establish a prima facie case against all three accused persons through their seven (7) witnesses they called to testify at the trial.

The prosecution is contending that contrary to assertions made in the accused persons’ submissions of no case applications, the evidences of the prosecution witnesses were not in any way discredited under cross-examination, and their evidence remains credible and reliable.

Source: Ghana/Kasapafmonline.com

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GENERAL NEWS

IGP must support the #FixTheCountry movement

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The NDC Professionals Forum in the United States has called on the Inspector-General of Police and the police institution in Ghana to begin to find wisdom in the need to support the #FixTheCountry movement.

This is even more imperative after a police officer was fatally shot and killed in a broad daylight robbery in Accra on Monday the 14th of June when armed men on a motorcycle, opened fire on a bullion van transporting cash from a business hub to the bank.

We extend our condolences to the Ghana Police Service and the bereaved families. As a professional body, we believe that his unfortunate situation must trigger the police service to review its position on their hardcore stance in blocking a peaceful demonstration by Ghanaian youths who want the best for their country.

The Professionals Forum in North America supports the #FixTheCountry Movement. It is time to do things right as a country and about time the government begins to FixTheCountry we all call home.

Sadly, another Ghanaian youth with the Ghana Police Service has been shot and killed through careless arrangements for his safety. It is high time we as a nation begin to protect the lives and properties of Ghanaians through proper ways of doing things.

Why should we move money through traffic in broad daylight and expose everyone involved in today’s sophisticated era of crime? Can we investigate the proliferation of arms in the hands of wrong people? What happened to building landing sites for helicopters or better still moving monies at night with drones monitoring in the air with live feed? Can we begin to think outside the box and prioritize the safety of our people?

Our dear nation is overwhelmed with hardship and insecurity, and it is the duty of all to call out those who have carelessly created the mess to #FixTheCountry.

Source: Arnold Appiah, Contributor

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GENERAL NEWS

VIDEO: Angry man spotted ‘whipping’ Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia’s poster for disappointing Ghanaians

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Ghanaians have been complaining of hardship in the country and have lost trust in the ruling New Patriotic Party(NPP) spearheaded by Nana Akufo-Addo.

The majority of Ghanaians have complained over the lack of employment in the country, power outages(dumsor), water shortage, bad roads, among other issues.

However, an overly frustrated and peeved man has been spotted in a video ‘whipping’ the poster of president Nana Akufo-Addo and vice president Dr Mahamadu Bawumia for disappointing Ghanaians.

According to the man, he has not benefited in any way after he voted Akufo-Addo and it has been suffering throughout his tenure of administration.

The Video has amassed massive reactions on Facebook with the majority of Ghanaians agreeing with the man that the country is in hardship and the leaders are not helping in any way.

Watch the video below:

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GENERAL NEWS

Man shot dead by friend over GH¢5 debt

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A middle-aged man has been shot dead by his friend at Akuapem-Apiredi in the Eastern Region following a confrontation over a Ghc5 debt he owes him.

The deceased whose name was given as Ben, a drinking spot operator, was shot twice on his chest by Kwame Dankwa, a 50-year-old hunter who had confronted him to pay his debt.

Ben was reported to have refused to pay his creditor, a situation which angered Kwame who pulled a locally manufactured gun and shot him.

A resident of the town, Kwabena Ofori told JoyNews, the deceased was pronounced dead on arrival at the Tetteh Quarshie memorial hospital in Akuapem-Mampong.

“Kwame Dankwa went to Ben who operates a drinking spot to collect his Gh₵5 he claimed the man owed him but when he approached him he also failed to pay the money so it turned into a fight and Kwame Dankwa shot him twice. When he was sent to Mampong he was reported dead,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the suspect has fled to an unknown location when residents attempted to apprehend him.

 

SOURCEEdwin Kofi Siaw

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