Tuesday, 12th October 2021
The apex court of the land has ruled on a review application filed by the Attorney General Godfred Dame Yeboah on its earlier ruling on case filed by Dr. Stephen Opuni. Dr. Opuni had applied for the removal of a judge at the high court andd received a favourable ruling.
Followers may recall that Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, former CEO of COCOBOD has been standing trial together with Seidu Agongo and Agricult Company Ltd at the high court for causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GHC 200m. This was in relation to a contract which COCOBOD awarded to the company in 2015 to import fertilizer and other inputs for cocoa farmers in Ghana. The NPP government thought that contract was infested with corruption.
This is because, instead of importing finished fertilizer into the country, company, owned by Seidu Agongo rather imported raw materials into the country and produced the fertilizer locally at a reduced cost to COCOBOD. But the government thinks that decision was not in line with the agreement hence dragged the three to court. Besides, it argued that the fertilizer was of low quality even though the farmers who testified believed otherwise.
While the trial was ongoing, the accused raised several procedural errors committed by the judge, Justice Clemence Hunyenuga but he overlooked them. For instance, a witness committed purgery but the charge refused to charge him for that as well as expunge his false statement from records. He also allegedly stated in open court that he wanted to finish the case fast in order to concentrate on his supreme court duties.
For these and other reasons, the accused requested the trial judge to recuse himself but he refused. They therefore proceeded to the supreme court to have the judge removed on account of bias.
The apex court ruled in July this year on a 3:2 majority decision to bar the trial judge from continuing to hear the case. The court also expunged portions of a witness statement from the records.
But the Attorney General who was not satisfied with the ruling applied for a review of the ruling. According to Godfred Dame Yeboah, there were fundamental errors in the ruling which needed to be corrected. He filed an application for review which was heard on Tuesday.
After listening to the arguments of both the applicant and the defendants the court precided by Justice Jones Dotse adjourned the final ruling to October 26. Other members of the bench during the hearing are Agnes Dodzie JSC, Lovelace Johnson JSC, Essifu Moro Tanko JSC and Gabriel Pwamang JSC. Two additional judges who were added to hear the review are Nene Amegache JSC and Emmanuel Nii Ashietey JSC both of whom were promoted to the apex court in 2018.
According to Joynews report intercepted by CitizenOne, lawyers for the Dr. Opuni argued that the Attorney General only repeated it's earlier arguements which were not considered by the court. They encouraged the court to uphold their majority decision by not sacrificing justice for expediency or finances.
Meanwhile, a US based Ghanaian journalist Mr. Kelvin Tailor had taken a swipe at the Attorney General and Justice Clemence Hunyenuga for trying to jail Dr. Opuni who according to him had done nothing wrong. According to Kelvin, it was the decision of the ruling NPP to jail Dr. Opuni at all cost.
He said they started by coming out with a fake documentary where a trunk loaded with huge sums of money was being circulated in social media and they said that was money Dr. Opuni had stolen from the state. But later, multimedia company which circulated the said video came out to apologize for the false publication. Subsequently, Dr. Opuni was arrested andd taken to court. Kelvin alleged that Justice Clemence Hunyenuga was selected to jail Dr. Opuni and nothing more.
Watch the attached video from 2 hours and 13th minute. Remember to leave a comment
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