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General News of Thursday, 27 June 2019

Source: Daily Guide Network

Opuni’s request halts trial

The trial of former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, has been adjourned due to the insistence of his lawyer that he cannot continue his cross-examination of the state’s third witness if he is not provided with certain documents he requested.

According to Dr. Opuni’s lawyer, Samuel Codjoe, he has reached a stage in his cross-examination where he will rely on those documents to defend his client.

The documents relate to procurement letters written between COCOBOD and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) during the tenure of Dr. Opuni.

The state has already provided the lawyers with about 200 different documents in the course of the trial of Dr. Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo who have been accused of allegedly causing over GH¢271 million financial loss to the state.

There were other instances where the state was ordered by the court to provide the accused persons with certain documents upon request by their lawyers.

But his lawyer said he cannot continue with his cross-examination if he does not get the documents being requested.

The court at the last sitting had ordered the heads of COCOBOD and PPA to provide the court with the documents.

On June 25, COCOBOD filed a 96-page document made up of the documents requested by the lawyer.

The document also included letters written to COCOBOD by PPA in response to some of its requests.

Another document being requested by the lawyer includes documents to show that COCOBOD last year purchased fertilizers through competitive bidding.

Although those documents were submitted to the lawyer, he is insisting that attachments to the letter listing the profiles of companies involved in the bidding be provided.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, told the court they filed COCOBOD documents because PPA could not furnish them with those requested from them.

She assured the court that they would file the attachments to the COCOBOD letter before the next court sitting.

The presiding judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, adjourned the matter to July 2 to enable the defence lawyers study the new documents which were filed by the state.

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