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General News of Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Attorney General blocks Opuni’s motion to access prosecution documents

The Attorney General’s Department has registered its opposition to an application by the legal team of former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni, demanding to be furnished with the relevant documents based on which he’s being prosecuted.

According to a Deputy AG, Godfred Dame, they were not bound by law to provide the documents as requested because the case is one of a summary trial rather than a trial of indictment.

Godfred Dame further stated that the defence was only entitled to relevant evidence and not all the documents they have demanded.
The prosecution further indicated the application is not supported by any human rights law as referred to by the defence lawyers.

Following this resistance, the defence lawyers, represented by Samuel Cudjoe, prayed the High Court to refer the motion which is centered on article 19 of the constitution to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

Godfred Dame’s comments come despite an earlier assurance from the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akufo, that her office would grant Dr. Opuni’s request.

In an interview with Citi News in Cape Coast, she said the documents will be made available to Dr. Opuni for the sake of fairness and justice.

“We are going to court. We are prepared to give them what we know. We have nothing to hide. After all, we believe in the right of the individual to defend himself particularly when it is against the principle that you are presumed to be innocent. We are happy to give that which they want, but we will play it as the law provides. That is what is at the heart of the matter now,” she said.

It is thus unclear why the sudden u-turn.

Dr. Stephen Opuni, a former COCOBOD CEO, had filed the motion seeking to be supplied all documents the AG intends to rely on in the ongoing case involving himself, the state and a businessman, Seidu Agongo.

He stated that he would be able to mount a better defence if he is furnished with the relevant documents the prosecution will be relying on.

Dr. Opuni and two others are facing 27 charges of causing financial loss to the state, conspiracy to commit a crime, defrauding by false pretence, abetment of crime amongst others.

The charges are in relation to a supposed fraudulent fertilizer contract worth over GH¢43 million.