Scientist who tested Lithovit speaks in Opuni trial


Dr. Alfred Arthur, the Research Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), that tested Lithovit Foliar fertiliser, has commenced his evidence in chief, in the trial of Dr. Stephen Opuni, former Chief Executive of COCOBOD.


Dr. Arthur has said that he has worked at CRIG for 8 years and is currently the Acting Head of the Soil Science Division of CRIG.

According to Dr. Arthur, he got to know of the the third Accused company, Agricult Company Limited, when they submitted Lithovit foliar fertiliser to be tested on cocoa in 2013.

According to Dr. Arthur, in the year 2013, he was involved in the testing of various fertilisers including Lithovit Foliar fertiliser.

In explaining how he got the Lithovit Foliar fertiliser and where he tested it, the second prosecution Witness, Dr. Arthur, said that a letter introducing Lithovit Foliar fertiliser signed by the former Deputy Executive, Agronomy and Quality Control, of Ghana COCOBOD, was minuted to him by the then Head of the Soil Science Division, Mr. A. A. Afrifa, to go for a sample of Lithovit Foliar fertiliser from the Chairman of the Committee for Testing Chemicals and Machines, Mr. Andrews Yaw Akrofi.

“I went for the sample which was in a whitish cylindrical container with a green lid
I opened the lid and found a fine powdery substance in the container. The contents in the container was cross checked with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that came with it, and the physical form as stated in the MSDS was powder”, he said.

“The Head of Division then handed over the Lithovit Foliar fertiliser and the accompanying MSDS and other dossier on the product to me, and instructed me to carry out a test on cocoa seedlings using Lithovit Foliar fertiliser.
I prepared a budget and submitted same for the approval of the Head of my Division for onward submission to the Executive Director and then to the Company that sent it”, he explained.

A whitish container with a green lid, containing a substance, was shown to the Second Prosecution Witness, and he identified it as Lithovit Foliar fertiliser and same was tendered in evidence.

Counsel for Dr. Opuni, Mr. Samuel Codjoe objected to the tendering of the alleged Lithovit Foliar fertiliser.

“The witness claims that this particular exhibit is what he tested. It is not possible for him to have worked on this alleged Lithovit Foliar fertiliser and at the same time have all the content of the Lithovit Foliar fertiliser in the container. The Court should reject the exhibit” Mr. Codjoe said.

The Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, argued that the Witness, Dr Arthur had said that the evidence handed to him in Court, was the sample handed over to him to work on at CRIG.

She added that the Witness was yet to tell the Court the kind of analysis he conducted, quantum used and the report.

“The fact that the container together with it’s content, has some weight can never suggest by any stretch of imagination that this was not what the witness says was handed over to him in July 2013. The objection as raised by counsel for the first Accused has no basis whatsoever under the rules of evidence and should be overruled” she said.

“Secondly, the basis for Admissibility of any evidence in this court is relevance. The Accused persons have been charged with offences that have to do with this substance, Lithovit Foliar Fertiliser. The Witness has told us who he is, where he comes from and the chain of custody, culminating in how he finally received this product which is already an evidence in this court, and since he is the one who worked on it, he must be allowed to tender it and the Witness may be cross examined by Counsels for the Accused persons” she added.

The Court overruled the objection.

The Witness explained that the MSDS indicates the health and safety measures of the products, the name of the product, manufacturer, country of origin, chemical composition, physical form or appearance are all clearly indicated in the MSDS and also gives information on first aid measures one has to take in case there is an accident in handling the product.

An exhibit was handed to the Witness, and he identified it as the MSDS which accompanied the Lithovit Fertiliser that was handed to him to work on in July 2013.

According to the Witness, the MSDS that accompanied the fertiliser, indicates the Country of Origin as Germany, the manufacturer at Zeovita , GHMB, the physical state as powdery, the colour as grey and the substance being odourless.

According to Dr. Arthur, these are the relevant information scientists look out for in the MSDS when handling a product submitted by a client.

Source: GhanaJustice/F.Kyeremateng


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here