I was not asked to stop testing agro-chemicals - Witness

Wednesday 14th November, 2018
Dr Stephen Opuni 112

By Morkporkpor Anku, GNA

Accra, Nov. 14, GNA - Dr Alfred Arthur, a Scientist at the Soil Science Division of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), on Wednesday told an Accra High Court that he has a suspension letter dated January 2, to April 2017, but he was not precluded from testing chemicals.

He said his suspension and transfer to CRIG’s substation in Bunso did not state that he should not be involved in the testing of agrochemicals as claimed by Mr Samuel Cudjoe, the Counsel for Dr Stephen Opuni

Dr Arthur was answering questions under cross examination in the trial of Dr Stephen Opuni former Chief Executive Officer of the COCOBOD and Mr Seidu Agongo, also Chief Executive Officer of Agricult Ghana Limited.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have pleaded not guilty and have been granted a GH¢300,000.00 each self-recognisance bail by the Court.

He said just after five weeks of the suspension, one Rev Dr Odoom, the Deputy Executive Director of CRIG wrote to him in February 2017 that at the expiration of his suspension, he should remain in the Soil Science Division of CRIG.

The Counsel asked Dr Arthur, whether he was aware that he was suspended because COCOBOD found out that the scientific report recommending Cocoa Nti fertilizer, which he claimed to have worked on after submission to CRIG in 2013 was false, but the witness said “I did not get to know of any COCOBOD finding.”

Asked, whether he was aware that COCOBOD instructed CRIG to conduct investigation on its own and found out that though Cocoa Nti fertilizer was submitted to it on 31st March 2016, the scientific report that the witness co-authored said that it was done in May 2013 of which the witness answered in the affirmative.

The Court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenugah, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge adjourned the case to Thursday, November 22, for continuation of further cross-examination of the witness.