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Business News of Saturday, 19 December 2020

Source: African Eye Report

COCOBOD trial: Peter Osei Amoako 'chickens out'

Director of finance at COCOBOD, Peter Osei Amoako Director of finance at COCOBOD, Peter Osei Amoako

Director of finance at COCOBOD, Peter Osei Amoako had to eat back his words after claiming COCOBOD’s Entity Tender Committee was chaired by the Chief Executive even before 2016.

Testifying against former COCOBOD boss, Dr Stephen Opuni and two others, on Thursday, December 10, the witness was emphatic that the Public Procurement Act was clear on that.

“Sir, prior to 2016 was the Chief Executive a member of the Entity Tender Committee,” lawyer for one of the accused Seidu Agongo asked the 6th prosecution witness.

He answered, “My Lord, per my understanding the Chief Executive is the head of the Entity so he is a member of the Entity.”

Lawyer Nutifafa Nutsukpui, who is standing in for Benson Nutsukpui, further enquired, “Sir, was this your understanding even before 2016”.

Peter Osei Amoako stressed, “My Lord that is the law that the head of Entity is the Chief Executive”.

But the witness, who is a member of the COCOBOD entity tender committee and had earlier told the court he was “familiar with the role” of the committee, recoiled under cross-examination when the lawyer probed further the following day – December 11.

“Sir, I put it to you that until 2016 when the PPA Act was amended the Chief Executive was not the head of the Entity Tender Committee at COCOBOD”.

Peter Osei Amoako now responded explaining the year he was suggesting the Chief Executive was made the head of the Entity Tender Committee.

“My Lord, I have to look at the Act but I was speaking from 2017 and I know that it is the Chief Executive,” the witness said.

The court presided over by Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga a Supreme Court judge sitting as additional High Court judge adjourned the case to 11th January 2021.

Former CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Company Limited, are facing 27 charges which include willfully causing financial loss of ¢217 million to the state, through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016.

They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges and are on self-recognition bail of ¢300,000 each.