Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, has filed an application seeking the recusal of the judge who is presiding over his trial.
Dr Opuni and businessman, Seidu Agongo are standing trial over accusations of causing financial loss of more than GH¢271.3 million to the state in a series of fertiliser deals.
They have denied any wrongdoing and have pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against them.
In his application, Dr Opuni argued that Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme, sitting as a high court judge, had stated in open court that he was in a hurry to finish the case in order to concentrate on his work at the Supreme Court.
It is his case that the alleged comments by the judge meant he would not be afforded adequate time and facilities to defend himself as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
“That I have been advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that in the circumstance the learned judge should recuse himself from the suit and refer the suit to the Chief Justice for same to be transferred to another judge by the Chief Justice,” he argued.
Lawyers for Dr Opuni are expected to move the application on June 9
Dr Opuni was the CEO of the COCOBOD between November 2013 and January 2017, while Agongo is the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, an agrochemicals company.
The two were dragged to court by the Attorney-General (A-G) in March 2017 on 27 charges for allegedly engaging in illegalities in a series of fertiliser transactions, which the A-G says caused a financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state.
Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to the COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by allowing Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.