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General News of Wednesday, 25 April 2018


Refreezing Opuni’s assets 'affront to the court' – Lawyer

Stephen Opuni, Former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD Stephen Opuni, Former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD

The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) refreezing the bank accounts of ex-COCOBOD CEO Dr Stephen Opuni shortly after it was unfrozen per a court order is an “affront to the court,” a member of the embattled CEO’s legal team, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe has said.

He told Moro Awudu on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 that: “What is curious is that this motion that we filed dated 13 April 2018 when we filed it and we went, it was served on the personal secretary to the director of EOCO. Even when we served this process on the 16th, 17th, 18th right to 23rd, they never filed any process opposing our application.

“Now only for us to go to court and the lawyer for EOCO comes to court and says ‘my lord we have reviewed the application and we are not opposed to it’…but we said regardless we wanted to give them legal basis for application.

“The court rightly so went ahead and ordered that the account be de-frozen. So this is an application that was fought on its merit…so, if EOCO have gone through that process with us and will now turn 360 degrees and seek another court order to freeze the account again that is a clearest contempt of court and abuse of the process of the court. In fact, it will be the height of impunity…the conduct is an affront even to the court.”

An Accra High Court on Monday, 23 April 2018, ordered EOCO to release the assets of Dr Opuni.

It is recalled that EOCO embargoed the assets of Dr Opuni, including his bank accounts, in February 2017 at the start of a probe into his tenure as COCOBOD boss.

But Dr Opuni filed a suit at the court demanding that the accounts be released.

The court granted the request on Monday but it was overturned the following day after EOCO had sought another court order.

Dr Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo are facing 27 charges of willfully causing financial loss of GHS217million to the state, through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016.

The contracts were GHS43.1million (2013/2014 cocoa farming season), GHS75.3million (2014/2015 cocoa farming season) and GHS98.9million (2015/2016 cocoa farming season) totalling GHS217million through sole-sourcing, the state claimed, adding that procurement procedures for sole-sourcing were not followed.

The two have pleaded not guilty to all charges and were each granted a GHS300,000 self-recognisance bail and their passports taken by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service.

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