Opuni trial: Cocoa Nti was delivered for testing before I was employed - Witness tells court

  Mon, 13 May 2024
Crime & Punishment Opuni trial: Cocoa Nti was delivered for testing before I was employed - Witness tells court

Mr Jerome Agbesi Dogbatse, a Research Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), says at the time the alleged sample of Cocoa Nti was delivered for testing, he was not in the institution's employment. 

He told an Accra High Court that he never worked on the Cocoa Nti fertiliser as a scientist of the Soil Science Division of CRIG. 

Mr Dogbatse, a subpoenaed witness for Mr Seidu Agongo, was speaking in his further cross-examination in the trial, involving Dr Stephen Opuni, a former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, led by Mr Samuel Cudjoe. 

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully 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. 

He said he was not part of any team that worked on the scientific report on Cocoa Nti sent to COCOBOD, but rather he only reviewed the report.

The witness confirmed the statement of Dr Alfred Arthur, a Prosecution witness, which indicated that he received a verbal communication from Dr Adu-Ampomah, a former Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control to receive 30 bags of Cocoa Nti in 2013.

“As to whether Dr Adu-Ampomah gave the directive for Dr Arthur to receive 30 bags of Cocoa Nti for test in 2013, l am not aware,” he added.

He confirmed to the Court that he did not apologize personally to the Committee to investigate the unauthorized testing of Cocoa Nti because he was not part of the team that allegedly tested the fertilizer. 

The witness said he advised Dr Arthur to apologise if it had come out that the product was not tested.