AG Floors Opuni Again

Dr. Stephen Opuni

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a fourth attempt by former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, to remove Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Supreme Court judge sitting as an additional High Court judge from his trial.

The accused, who is standing trial for allegedly causing over GH¢217 million financial loss to the state, had filed a motion for review of the decision of the ordinary bench which had dismissed his application for certiorari and prohibition against the judge on ground of alleged real likelihood of bias.

Moving the motion, his counsel, Samuel Codjoe had argued that the Supreme Court had held in a decided case that all courts are bound by judicial precedence and the court has no discretion in such instances, and therefore urged the court to reverse the decision of the ordinary bench.

The application was opposed by the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who argued that the application has not demonstrated any fundamental errors in the decision of the ordinary bench which is the essence of the rule regarding reviews. He prayed the court to dismiss the motion.

A seven-member review panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse and assisted by Justices Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Avril Lovelace Johnson, Gertrude Torkornoo, Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu and Yonni Kulendi, held that the application did not meet the threshold to invoke the review jurisdiction of the court, and subsequently dismissed it for lacking substance and merit.

The Supreme Court on February 22, 2022 dismissed a motion seeking to remove Justice Honyenuga from continuing to hear Dr. Opuni’s trial.

The court also dismissed an oral application by his lawyer for the court to allow the judge to enter the witness box so he could cross-examine him on issues he raised in affidavit in respect of the application.

Opuni’s application stems from an application for recusal filed by the accused which was dismissed by the court on December 16, last year, which sought to kick the judge off the case which was dismissed.

The application basically alleged what he claims to be ‘open hostility’ towards him by the trial judge and “his acts and conducts is such that justice cannot be said to be seen to be done.”

BY Gibril Abdul Razak