Dr. Stephen Opuni
An attempt by former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni to get the a Supreme Court judge off his case has failed.
Dr. Opuni had filed an application asking Justice Clemence Honyenuga, sitting as an additional High Court judge to recuse himself from the trial on grounds of bias.
His ground is that he fears he may not get fair trial because the judge had stated in open court that he wanted to finish the case quickly so that he can concentrate on his duties at the Supreme Court.
He also argued that the trial judge had made final determination of fact in his ruling on the submission of no case, a determination which could only be made at the end of the trial after the accused had opened his defence.
The prosecution opposed the application arguing that it was frivolous, unmeritorious and calculated at further delaying the trial.
They also contended that the judge did nothing legally wrong when he found that the prosecution had established the ingredients in the charges levelled against Dr. Opuni thereby establishing a prima facie case against him.
Again, they argued that the court, right from the beginning of the case had given Dr. Opuni adequate time and facilities to defend himself.
Justice Honyenuga in a ruling dismissed the application on ground that it was brought in bad faith.
Dr. Opuni, Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited are standing trial for 24 charges of causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretences, conspiracy to commit crime, abetment of crime, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the PPA Act.
Together, they are accused of causing a financial loss of over GHc217 million to the state through the sale and purchase of the controversial Lithovit Liquid Fertilizer which the prosecution says was never tested.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak