Headlines | Mar 17, 2018

Dr. Opuni’s 27 Charges Is No Witch-Hunting

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Afua Akuffo, has refuted allegation of witch-hunting against officials of the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

According to the AG, she is only performing her duties in accordance with the Constitution.

Ms Gloria Akuffo made the statement in reaction to views expressed by some members of the NDC following her decision to haul the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBD), Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, to court for causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢217,370,289.22.

Already, the immediate-past Board Chairman of the National Communication Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, and four other former board members are before an Accra high court for causing financial loss to the state in the sum of $4 million.

The National Organiser of the NDC, Kofi Adams, Had stated that the decision to prosecute those who allegedly misappropriated public funds was informed by the desire to fulfill the president's campaign promise to fight corruption in the country.

The NDC in the Ashanti Region, which reportedly received support from the former COCOBOD boss, jumped to his (Opuni's) defence immediately after the news broke.

The Ashanti Regional branch of the NDC indicated,“We believe Dr Stephen Opuni is a victim of a growing political culture of hounding predecessors to justify campaign claims of corruption.”

The minority in parliament also described the suit as “desperation by the state to hold him accountable for his stewardship.”

AG Disagrees
However, the Attorney General debunked the accusation by the NDC that her outfit has ulterior motives in the fight against corruption.

According to her, it is too early for people to jump to conclusions and called for calm until the matter is dealt with comprehensively by the law court.

The AG hinted that her office would be justified at the end of the day, if it would be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the 27 charges against Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo.

“By the time we finish the hearing, we will know if I am witch-hunting or that they (27 charges) are justifiable,” Ms Gloria Akuffo told the media.

Dr. Opuni has been accused of “abetting Mr. Agongo and Agricult Ghana Ltd. to defraud the COCOBOD the sum of GH¢43,120,000 between January 2014 and November 2014.

He has also been accused of abetting the businessman to defraud the state the sum of GH¢75,289,314.72 million between November 2014 and November 2015.

According to the suit, “Mr Seidu Agongo, between October 2015 and March 2016 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region with intent to defraud Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) obtained the consent of COCOBOD to part with the sum of GH¢98,935,974.50 by representing to COCOBOD that you will supply Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer from Germany for application by farmers on cocoa for the 2015/2016 cocoa season, a representation which you knew to be false at the time of making it.”

State prosecutors have also accused Dr Opuni of receiving GH¢25,000 as 'kickback' to influence the performance of his duties.

The two will appear before an Accra high court on Friday, March 23, 2018.

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