28.02.2024 Crime & Punishment

Opuni Trial: EOCO was not distracted by any form of Committee investigations — Witness tells court

OpuniTrial:EOCO was not distracted by any form of Committeeinvestigations — Witness tells court
28.02.2024 LISTEN

Mr Paul Adjei Gyang, a Senior EOCO Officer, says his outfit was not distracted by any form of investigation conducted through a committee set up by COCOBOD.

He said, “they were on the task as per the mandate given them by the Executive Director of EOCO.”

Mr Gyang, who is a Senior Staff at the Operations Unit of EOCO and a subpoena witness for Mr Seidu Agongo, the Chief Executive Officer of Agricult Ghana Limited, was answering questions in a further cross examination led by Mr Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Stephen Opuni, a former the Chief Executive of COCOBOD.

Dr Opuni, Mr Agongo and his Company are facing 27charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by a public officer in 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.

The witness said the investigations being conducted by Dr Yaw Adu Ampomah, a former Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control, were purely an institutional enquiry being done by COCOBOD.

He said during their investigations, he remembered they did not only invite the staff of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) but also, they invited some farmers, who used the lithovit fertilizer.

Mr Gyang said it was COCOBOD, who introduction all the farmers to them, where they were interrogated and interviewed for the efficacy of the lithovit fertilizer.

He confirmed that according to COCOBOD, the farmers have used the lithovit fertiliser on their farmer on matured cocoa seedlings.

“I can remember we interviewed only two farmers and l should think they gave EOCO their statements,” he added.

The witness said if his memory served him right, “we interrogated and interviewed the Board Chairman of COCOBOD in the person of Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum.”

He said during their investigation they got to know that MrOhene Agyekum's tenure as Board Chairman expired and was replaced by Mr Hackman Owusu Agyeman.

He said he was aware that one of the farmers, Dr Ampomah suggested for interrogation his fellow Board Member, Nana Obeng Akrofi, and he gave statement to EOCO.

The Counsel said he believed Nana Akrofi was illiterate and could not read and write and he could not remember whether Nana Akrofi was an illiterate, who could not read and write.

The statement of Nana Akrofi was presented to the witness to identify, saying the content was explained to him and was asked to identify the signature of the people, who explained the statement to him, but the witness said, “it looks familiar, but l cannot attach a name to it.”

The witness confirmed from the statement of Nana Akrofiindicating that lithovit was not effective.

He said another farmer interviewed was Emmanuel Obeng, who informed the investigative team that the lithovit foliar liquid fertiliser was effective

He said as at the time they transferred the docket to the Police; they had not concluded on the subject matter and from the evidence that they gathered, farmers indicated that lithovitincreased their yields.

The witness said Dr Franklin Amoah, a witness in the trial, was being Investigated for causing loss to State property not causing financial loss to the State and EOCO had not concluded on the matter, involving Dr Amoah hence, he was not charged with the offence.