Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, former Chief Executive officer(CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board(COCOBOD) has filed an application, seeking the removal of the judge who is presiding over his trial.
The case involves Dr. Opuni and Seidu Agongo, who are standing trial over accusations of causing financial loss involving a sum of more than GH¢271.3 million to the state, in a series of fertilizer deals.
The two have however denied any wrongdoing and have pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against them.
Dr. Opuni, in his application, argued that the judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, who is a Justice of the Supreme Court and sitting as a high court judge, had openly stated in court that he was in a hurry to finish the case to focus on his work at the apex court
It is therefore his case that the comments by the judge meant that he would not be given adequate time and facilities to defend himself as stipulated by the 1992 Constitution of the Republic.
“That I have been advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that in the circumstance the learned judge should recuse himself from the suit and refer the suit to the Chief Justice for same to be transferred to another judge by the Chief Justice,” Mr. Opuni argued
Dr.Opuni’s lawyers are however expected to move the application on June 9th, 2021.
Dr. Stephen Opuni was the CEO of the COCOBOD from November 2013 to January 2017. Mr.Agongo on the other hand is the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, which is an agrochemicals company in Ghana.
They were dragged to court by the Attorney General in March 2017 on 27 charges for allegedly engaging in illegalities in a series of fertilizer transactions, which caused a financial loss of over GH¢271.3 million to the state, according to the A-G.
Seidu Agongo on his part is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertilizer to the COCOBOD for distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr. Opuni is accused of facilitating Agongo’s act by not allowing his products to be tested and certified as the law required.