Opuni’s COCOBOD trial cannot start afresh – Supreme Court rules

Source The Ghana Report

The Supreme Court has unanimously rejected an application to restart the trial of former COCOBOD boss Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni.

In a ruling on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, a five-member panel led by Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo dismissed the appeal.

The apex court ruled that the Court of Appeal was correct in its July 3, 2023, decision to continue with the proceedings overseen by retired Justice Clemence Honyenuga.

The court dismissed the application from Dr. Opuni’s legal team, stating that their request was without merit.

Dr. Opuni, together with businessman Seidu Agongo, have been accused of causing financial loss of more than GH₵271 million to the state, and are before an Accra High Court.

It will be recalled that the judge who took over from retired Justice Honyenuga ruled that the COCOBOD trial should begin afresh to address the concerns raised by the accused persons regarding the fairness of the proceedings.

The judge, Kwasi Anokye Gyimah said it would be unfair for him to adopt a proceeding that was saddled with numerous allegations, and subsequently ruled for the trial to start afresh.

Not happy with the decision, the state prosecution filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

They argued that the trial judge had misdirected himself in the application of the principles regarding the adoption of evidence.

The Court of Appeal sided with the prosecution’s argument and overturned the decision to start the trial afresh.

But the accused persons were unhappy with the Court of Appeal’s ruling and thus the latest application before the Supreme Court.

The apex court’s ruling ensures that the trial will now proceed based on the existing proceedings.

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

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