17.03.2023 Crime & Punishment

Court dismiss case against BH Fertagro Ghana Limited 

Court dismiss case against BH Fertagro Ghana Limited
17.03.2023 LISTEN

An Accra Circuit Court has struck out a case involving Mr Ayitey Redeemer, the Logistics Manager and others of BH Fertagro Ghana Limited, a fertilizer manufacturer/ importer over the seizure of its fertilizers.

On September 17, 2022, a production warehouse of the company situated at Amanfrom near Adenta was raided by a combined team of Police and officials of Ghana COCOBOD.

The team also seized 15 articulated trucks loaded with fertilizers for export to Burkina Faso.

Mr Ekow Ampah Korsah, one of the lawyers of the accused persons, filed a motion at an Accra Circuit Court for an order for the release of these seized bags of branded NPK fertilizers.

The court said after the motion was moved it gave order for the prosecution to file its disclosures if they wanted to continue the case.

It said after the order was given, the prosecution never filed its disclosures rather only one witness statement was filed from the complainant but the defendant was not served.

The court observed that one witness statement in such a huge trial could not constitute disclosures as expected by the court.

“This was filed to frustrate the motion ahead to be ruled upon,” it said.

The court said the matter was reported in the court since September 2022 and only one witness statement was filed and this did not show any sign of seriousness.

It said article 19(1) of the 1992 Constitution stated that accused persons be tried within a reasonable time was seriously being defeated.

The court said if the prosecution wanted to really prosecute the case, then they should come seriously but not this warm attitude.

Motion moved early by Mr Ampah Korsah said the blended formulation of the fertilizer (14-23-14) was for cotton production and not a cocoa production formulation.

He said Mr Ayitey Redeemer Kotsanu, the Logistics Manager of the company, and two other persons, Mr Abdulrazak Sani and Mr Cisse Sin Ali were arrested and the production warehouse of the company closed.

The Lawyer said BH Fertagro Ghana Limited is a company registered under the laws of Ghana and engaged in the importation and production of fertilizers for farming.

He said the said fertilizer loaded on the trucks was presently the subject of another application before the Court.

“That the accused persons were subsequently charged with four counts of conspiracy, stealing, attempting to smuggle and misbranding fertilizer and have all pleaded not guilty to the charges,” he added.

It is the Company’s case that the fertilizer found at the Company’s premises, which was seized, were not products belonging to Ghana Cocobod, but rather fertilizer which was freely available on the open market for purchase by anybody, who wished to do so.

The lawyer said it was a fact well known in the Cocoa fertilizer industry that last year Cocobod did not purchase the solid fertilizers produced and the producers had to put the same on the open market.

Mr Korsah said it was also a fact that all the Cocoa fertilizer producing companies place their products on the open market for sale to all comers although the fertilizer was ordinarily branded “For Cocobod”.

“That Cocobod does not have an exclusive purchase agreement with any of the fertilizer production companies in the country,” he added.

He said Cocobod had not reported any of its fertilizer as missing and “we challenge the complainant to show where and when its warehouses have been broken into and how much fertilizer was stolen and to which police Station, they made a report of the said occurrence.”

The lawyer said the fertilizers seized from the Company’s premises were mainly “Cocoa Aduane’ brand manufactured by Omnifert and Yara that the Company through its agents purchased it from the manufacturer.

He said the fertilizer seized from the Company’s premises were purchased from the right source and were not stolen as was falsely alleged.

He said BH Fertagro had a contract to supply fertilizers to an agricultural Company in Burkina Faso called CAIMA for cereal production.

It was pursuant to this that the Company purchased some cocoa fertilizer as a base to blend the cereal fertilizers for the purchasing company.

Mr Ampah Korsah said since the beginning of the case on September 19, 2022, the police had allegedly failed to test the blended fertilizer seized and had taken no steps to verify that the Cocoa fertilizer was purchased on the open market or not.

He said BH Fertagro had already presented all its purchase waybills to the police in verification of the fact that the fertilizer was legitimately purchased.

The Lawyer prayed the court for the re-opening of the Company’s production facility and that would not in any way derogate from the prosecution’s case since they could not take samples of the contents of the trucks for evidential purposes if they need to.