Opuni trial: Court dismisses Seidu Agongo’s application to stay proceedings


An Accra High Court presided over by His Lordship, Mr Clemence Hornyenuga, has dismissed an application for Stay of Proceedings pending appeal, filed by Mr. Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, the 2nd and 3rd Accused, respectively, in the Dr. Opuni trial.


According to the judge, granting the application will occasion further delay as the second prosecution Witness has been in the witness box for almost 5 months.

He said that the ruling against which the 2nd and 3rd Accused persons have appealed, was not meant to deprive the Applicants of a fair trial.

Mr Seidu Agongo, and Agricult Ghana Limited, through their lawyer, moved a motion on notice to stay proceedings, pending an interlocutory appeal.

According to Counsel for the Applicants, Mr. Benson Nutsugui, the bone of contention is whether the testing authority, the Crop Research Institute Ghana (CRIG), is aware of the product referred to as the ‘Lithovit liquid fertiliser’.

Mr Nutsugui said that the second prosecution Witness, Dr. Fred Arthur, said, that the Lithovit liquid fertiliser was unknown to CRIG.

He added that the 2nd and 3rd Accused persons, sought to confront the 2nd prosecution Witness, with documents from the official custody of CRIG.

“One of the documents was a letter from the CRIG director, requesting for money to be paid by the 3rd Accused Company, Agricult Ghana Limited, for the sensitization of farmers and Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) staff, on the use of Lithovit liquid fertiliser”, he added.

According to Mr Nutsugui, the said letter was missing from the documents and the Court ordered the lawyers from CRIG and CHED to file the report of the Committee set up by CRIG, to look into the disappearance of the missing letter.

In the bid to cross-examine the second prosecution Witness on the said report, and tender same as evidence through the 2nd prosecution Witness, Mrs Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution(DPP), objected saying that the Witness was not the author of the report and cannot answer questions on it, or have it tendered through him.

The Court presided over by His Lordship Mr Clemence Hornyenuga upheld the objection and said that, Counsel for the 2nd and 3rd Accused should have sought for an order to subpoena the authors of the Committee’s report and examine them on it.

It was in his bid to challenge this ruling, that Mr. Nutsugui has filed for Stay of Proceedings.

He said that the ruling gave the impression that the Applicants would have to subpoena the authors of the report, when they open their defence, which would not afford them the opportunity to make a Submission of No Case. This, he said, will deprive the Applicants their constitutional right to a fair trial, which would result in substantial miscarriage of justice.

In opposing the motion, Madam Stella Ohene Okyere, a Senior State Attorney, said that the ruling which rejected the tendering of the Committee’s report, was proper and based on law.

She added that the grant of Stay of Proceedings pending appeal is discretionary and not an automatic right, just because an appeal has been filed.

“The trial involves more than just the 2nd Accused person and 3rd Accused company. If proceedings are stayed, it is going to affect the other Accused person who hasn’t filed any appeal or stay of proceedings”, she further added.

According to the State Attorney, staying the proceedings is a calculated attempt to delay the hearing and waste the Court’s time.

She concluded that in the unlikely event that the appeal succeeds, it would not affect the substantive case in any way.

Dr Stephen Opuni and two others are in court on the counts of various financial crimes, including ‘wilfully causing financial loss to the State’.

The case has been adjourned to 27th March, 2019.

Source: GhanaJustice/F.Kyeremateng


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