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COCOBOD Trial: Opuni files new motion to remove Justice Honyenuga

Source The Ghana Report

Former COCOBOD CEO Dr Stephen Opuni has filed a new application requesting the removal of Supreme Court Justice Clemence Honyenuga from the COCOBOD trial.

The application is the latest in a series of attempts by the former COCOBOD boss to prevent Justice Honyenuga (Rtd) from presiding over the case.

In his latest application, which is expected to be moved on November 14, 2022, Dr Opuni is asking the trial judge to prohibit himself on the ground that he has reached the statutory retirement age of 70.

The application comes despite the Chief Justice acting in accordance with Article 145 of the 1992 Constitution, giving the retired judge six months to conclude the case, which has been before the Accra High Court since 2018.

Article 145 (4) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana states that “Notwithstanding that he has attained the age at which he is required by this article to vacate his office, a person holding office as a Justice of a Superior Court or Chairman of a Regional Tribunal may continue in office for a period not exceeding six months after attaining that age, as may be necessary to enable him to deliver judgment or do any other thing in relation to proceedings that were commenced before him previous to his attaining that age.”

But the former COCOBOD boss, in his latest strike, has asked the judge to step aside and discontinue hearing the case as he has retired.

Former COCOBOD CEO Stephen Opuni leading the entourage after court proceedings

 

Background

The former COCOBOD boss, Dr Opuni, and the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, Seidu Agongo, are being tried over allegations of causing financial loss of more than GH₵271 million to the state.

The GH₵271 million alleged financial loss to the state is in respect of their engagement in illegalities in a series of fertiliser transactions, making the Attorney-General drag them to court in March 2018.

Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers.

Dr Opuni is also accused of facilitating the act by allowing Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.

They have been charged with 27 counts, including allegedly engaging in illegalities leading to the distribution of sub-standard fertilisers to cocoa farmers.

The two have denied any wrongdoing, pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, and are currently on a GH¢300,000 self-recognisance bail each.

Read Also: Will the NDC ever forgive Justice Honyenuga

 

Bribery Allegation

According to the facts of the case, Dr Opuni, on October 10 2014, while he was the CEO of COCOBOD, agreed to permit his office to be influenced by an amount of GH₵25,000.

The second accused person, Mr Agongo, has also been accused of “endeavouring to influence the conduct of Stephen Kwabena Opuni in the performance of his duties as the CEO of COCOBOD by offering him an amount of GH₵25,000”.

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