Prosecution pushes for speedy Opuni, Agongo trial

The Attorney General, through the Director of State Prosecutions (DPP), is pushing for a speedy trial of businessman Seidu Agongo, his company Agricult Ghana Limited and Dr Stephen Opuni, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who have been accused of engaging in acts that incurred financial loss of GHS271.3m to the state in a series of fertiliser deals.

In this regard, on Wednesday, Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the DPP, told the Accra High Court trying the case that it has filed an application for abridgement of time at the Court of Appeal against an interlocutory appeal filed by the lawyer for Mr Agongo, Mr Benson Nutsupkui.

The original interlocutory appeal filed by Mr Nutsukpui is scheduled for May 6, 2019, but the DPP holds the view that the date was too far and, so, want it brought forward.

Earlier, the DPP had opposed a motion for stay of proceedings pending an appeal filed against the rejection of a report of a fact-finding committee by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) on some stolen and obliterated documents which border on the criminal trial.

The High Court in Accra was forced to adjourn sitting on Wednesday, after it was confronted with the two motions at the Court of Appeal from Mr Agongo and the DPP, respectively.

After unsuccessful attempts to stay proceedings at the High Court pending interlocutory appeal, Mr Nustukpui told the court that his client had gone back to the Court of Appeal to quash the ruling dismissing the stay of proceedings on March 18.

The motion to stay proceedings was tied to an earlier decision of the High Court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenugah that rejected the tendering of a “germane” report on February 25 filed by CRIG, a division of the COCOBOD.

The report and its attachments, the defence counsel maintained, vindicate the accused in the sense that the fertiliser supplied to COCOBOD by Agricult was liquid and not powdery as suggested by the prosecution witness Dr Alfred Arthur.

Dissatisfied, Mr Agongo went to the Court of Appeal to get the lower court to rescind its decision. Subsequent to that, a motion was filed by Mr Agongo to stay the proceedings which again was shot down by the court last week.

The judge had maintained that “the impression created that the document is an official document is neither here nor there.”

So, when sitting resumed on Wednesday, 27 March, Mr Nustukpui notified the High Court of his client’s decision to get the Court of Appeal to side with him on his call for a stay of proceedings pending the interlocutory appeal.

The Court of Appeal has set May 6 to hear the case.

But the DPP, who felt the date was too long, filed a counter-appeal at the Court of Appeal for an abridgement of time. This appeal would be heard early April.


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