Supreme Court orders release of Opuni’s accounts

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The Supreme Court has ordered the release of all accounts belonging to former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni.

The unanimous decision by the court, Presided by Justice Jones Dotse, however asked for an amount of GHc25,000 to remain frozen.

According to the decision of the court, the lawyers for the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) in their submissions only cited GHc25,000 to be the amount that had been acquired illegally.

In April 2018,  Mr. Opuni applied to a High Court seeking an order for the release of his accounts.

That application followed a new order obtained by EOCO to have the accounts of Stephen Opuni frozen, hours after the same court had ordered for the release in March.

The High Court dismissed the application for the release of the accounts prompting Mr. Opuni’s lawyers to head for the Supreme Court.

Mr. Opuni’s lawyers accused EOCO of abuse of power, following the freezing of his accounts.

According to the lawyers, led by Samuel Cudjoe, EOCO’s move to freeze the bank accounts of Mr.Opuni again after an order of the court for its release, was a disrespect of the courts and contrary to section 40 of the EOCO Act.

Background

Dr. Opuni and Mr. Seidu Agongo, MD of Agricult Ghana Limited, are facing a total of 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by the public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The state argues that Dr. Opuni misled the Public Procurement Authority to approve single-source contracts for Seidu Agongo and Agricult to provide fertilizers at a different cost.

The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, also said Seidu Agongo, acting on behalf of Agricult, submitted fertilizer to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) for testing.

The prosecution further said investigations established that Seidu Agongo deposited an amount of GHc25,000 into the account of Dr. Opuni to influence the award of contracts.

The prosecution also established that between 2014 and 2016, contrary to law, Seidu Agongo and Agricult manufactured fertilizer in commercial quantities when the Ministry had not registered it for Food and Agriculture.

They pleaded not guilty and had earlier been granted a GH¢ 300,000 each self-recognizance bail by the court.

By: Fred Djabanor/citinewsroom.com/Ghana