A witness in the trial of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni has testified that the embattled former COCOBOD CEO directed scientists to reduce the testing period for agrochemicals.
Dr Franklin Manu Amoah, the Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and the first prosecution witness, told the Accra High Court Monday that Dr Opuni gave the directive shortly after taking office as COCOBOD boss.
According to the witness, Dr Opuni said his directive was to reduce the high cost of agrochemicals and also prevent few companies from monopolizing agrochemicals for cocoa.
As a result of the directive, Dr Amoah said, testing on Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer for matured cocoa sold by Agricult Ghana Limited was reduced to six months instead of the stipulated minimum period of two years.
The said fertilizer is the centre of the trial in which Dr Opuni and the CEO of Agricult, Seidu Agongo have been accused of causing a financial loss of Ghc271.3m to the state.
It is the case of the Attorney-General that Dr Opuni and Agongo allegedly engaged in certain illegalities that led to the purchase of substandard fertilizer and caused the state Ghc271.3 million.
Opuni and Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of agro firm, Agricult Ghana Limited, were dragged to court by the Attorney-General for causing financial loss to the state after they allegedly acted illegally in a fertilizer deal that cost COCOBOD GH?271.3 million.
The said fertilizer according to the AG, was meant for Cocoa farmers.