Opuni Trial: Defence witness on excuse duty for two weeks

Mr Charles Tetteh Dodoo, a defence witness in the case involving Dr Stephen Opuni and others, has presented an excuse duty letter to an Accra High Court, seeking permission to treat a spinal problem.

Mr Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni, who presented the excuse duty letter on behalf of the witness, told the Court that Dr Dodoo informed him on Friday, March 25, 2022, about his illness.

The Counsel said the witness had been complaining consistently in the cause of giving his evidence in chief.

“He got somebody to send me the excuse duty issued by a Medical Officer, who attended to him,” he added.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self recognizance bail each.

Mr Codjoe said he tried getting in contact with his learned friends; the prosecution and Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui for Seidu Agongo, the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited to inform them about the date of facts but unfortunately, he could not get to them.

“This explains why I did not give them prior notice,” he said.

Asked, whether he was on admission, the Counsel answered in the negative, saying the witness had been advised to go for physiotherapy.

Mrs Evelyn Keelson, the Chief State Attorney, said she had seen the excuse duty letter but her only concern was the fact that it did not have enough details, except to indicate an illness and an excuse of two weeks.

Mr Nutsukpui said they could only wish the witness a speedy recovery for him to be fit for cross-examination.

The Court, presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as an additional High Court Judge, said it was unfortunate that the witness was unwell and therefore the Court could not continue with the hearing.

He said the excuse duty letter was scanty, stating only the illness and the duration of the excuse, and stated that though the court was not bound on the advice, “we will give the witness the benefit of doubt.”

The Judge had earlier stated that he would not tolerate delays and unnecessary adjournment of the four-year-old criminal case.

He said if at the next adjourned date, the witness did not appear for cross-examination, the Court would take further steps to ensure that the case proceeds.

The trial was adjourned to Friday, April 8, 2022.

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