Connect with us

GENERAL NEWS

COCOBOD trial: CID Investigator confirms COCOBOD’s double standard

Published

on

Chief Inspector Thomas Prempeh Mercer

It has been revealed that months after EOCO began investigations into lithovit foliar fertilizer, based on the recommendations of a top COCOBOD official, ironically, the same official initiated a process to get the certificate of lithovit, which is a subject of investigation, renewed.

The said top official, Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah was the head of government’s transition team on Cocoa affairs who subsequently chaired COCOBOD internal investigations into deals entered into by the previous administration including the procurement of lithovit fertilizer between 2014 and 2016.

It was as a result of this internal investigation that Dr. Adu-Ampomah, who was then the Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD, recommended further investigation into the purchases of lithovit fertilizer under former COCOBOD boss, Dr. Stephen Opuni under the pretext that it was substandard.

Interestingly, the High Court in Accra on Monday, March 22 heard that months later, whilst investigation was ongoing, Dr. Adu-Ampomah in 2017 wrote to CRIG to renew the certificate on lithovit fertilizer produced by Agricult Ghana Limited, a product which credibility he himself has questioned.

His letter dated March 9, 2017, was titled: “Renewal of Certificate for 2017 – Agricult GH Ltd”.

The letter was addressed to the Executive Director of CRIG, Dr. Franklin Manu Amoah who is the first prosecution witness in the trial of Dr. Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Ltd.

Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah has himself testified in the trial as the third prosecution witness, with a suspended charge of perjury around his neck.
“We forward to you the attached request from Agricult Gh. Ltd for the renewal of the registration certificate of Lithovit fertilizer. Copies of the previous year’s certificate attached.

“kindly undertake the necessary verification on the product and renew the certificate for the year 2017.

“You can count on our co-operation,” Dr. Adu-Ampomah’s letter to CRIG read in full.

The letter was received by CRIG on March 14, 2017, and was minuted on a day after (i.e. March 15) by the Executive Director of CRIG to the Chairman of the Committee on Testing Chemicals and Machinery (CTCM).

The Chairman of CTCM was also asked to “kindly ensure due diligence in the re-evaluation of the product and submit report for forwarding to COCOBOD.”
The letter was again forwarded on March 16, to the Head of Soil Science at CRIG.

The trial investigator, Chief Inspector Thomas Prempeh Mercer under cross-examination on Monday, March 22, 2019, acknowledged the letter written by Adu-Ampomah as well as other documents on lithovit fertilizer.

“Now Sir. by the 14th of March, 2017 when Exhibit 29 was received in the office of the Executive Director of CRIG, investigations had already commenced into this matter that is correct,” lawyer for the 2nd and 3rd Accused Nutifafa Nutsukpui who is holding brief for Benson Nutsukpui asked the witness.

“Yes My Lord by EOCO,” Chief Insp. Prempeh Mercer confirmed.

The witness also confirmed seeing various letters from CRIG inviting Agricult Ghana Ltd to make payments towards the cost of renewing certificates for Lithovit.

He also confirmed seeing invoices covering those payments as well as receipts evidencing payments made by Agricult to CRIG for the renewal of its certificates for lithovit fertilizer in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Find excerpts of March 22, 2021 cross examination below:

Q: Now Sir, during your investigations you came across CRIG certificates in respect of the Lithovit for 2015 and 2016.

A: Yes My Lord including 2014

Q: Kindly confirm to the honourable court that the documents that you have are the CRIG certificates for 2015 and 2016 Exhibits 4 and 4A

A: Yes My Lord

Q: Now Sir, during your investigations did it come to your attention how CRIG evaluated the products before renewing their certificates

A: Yes, My Lord.

Q: Sir, you found out that as part of the evaluation process, CRIG collect samples of the products that had been distributed and that were being used by the farmers, that is correct.

A: Yes, My Lord that is the procedure.

Q: And Sir, you see as part of that process also CRIG interacts with the farmers to ascertain their views on the particular products being evaluated by CRIG, that is correct.

A: My Lord that is supposed to be the procedure.

Q: And now Sir, you found out there also that CRIG’s decision whether or not to renew certification for any products is based on these farmer interviews as well as CRIG’s own testing of the samples they had collected on the market as part of the evaluation process. that is also correct.

A: Yes My Lord

Q: And Sir did you find out also that CRIG will normally write to the companies supplying the products to pay the cost of the evaluation and renewal of a certification of the products involved, that is correct.

A: Yes, My Lord

Q: Please show him Exhibit 29. Sir. have you come across this document during your investigations

A: Yes My Lord.

Q: That is a letter signed by Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah in his capacity as the DCE, A&QC of Cocobod. that is correct.

A: Yes. My Lord.

Q: Kindly read the very first paragraph to the honourable court.

A: Witness reads out.

Q: Sir, as part of your investigations you reviewed and received a lot of documents from CRIG, that is correct?

A: Yes. My Lord.

Q: These documents included letters from CRIG to Cocobod as well as from CRIG to A3. that is also correct.

A: Yes, My Lord

Q: Now Sir. by the 14th of March, 2017 when Exhibit 29 was received in the office of the Executive Director of CRIG, investigations had already commenced into this matter that is correct

A: Yes My Lord by EOCO.

Q: Please confirm to the honourable court that this is one of the documents you have received and reviewed as part of your investigations.

A: My Lord, this document did not come to the attention of the investigation team.

Q: Sir, as part of your investigations, did you investigate any renewals for the certification of Lithovit by CRIG.

A: Yes. My Lord.

Q: Sir, did you come across letters from CRIG inviting the 3rd accused person to make payments towards the cost of renewing its certificates for the Lithovit.

A: Yes, My Lord.

Q: Sir, and you came across invoices raised by CRIG addressed to the 3rd accused person to make payments for the renewal for the CRIG certifications, that is also true.

A: Yes My Lord

Q: And you also came across receipts evidencing payments made by the 3rd accused person to CRIG for the renewal of its certificates. that is also true.

A: Yes. My Lord as part of the procedure.

Q: Please take a look at this invoice and see if it is one of the invoices that came to your attention during your investigations

A: My Lord, in the course of our investigation we saw invoices being payments A2 made on behalf of renewal for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 but the 2018 is what I have my doubt.

Q: Now Sir, for the invoices that you saw for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, did you also see the receipts of payments for those years.

A: Yes My Lord

Q: So if the court orders you to produce them, can you produce them, Sir.

A: My Lord, in the course of our investigations as Counsel rightly said there were a lot of correspondence, documents that we took over and so if it is part of the documents that we have I will produce them at the next adjourned date.

By Court: The witness is to produce the invoices and receipts covering the renewal of certificates for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 at the next adjourned date. Consequently, the case is adjourned to 29th March, 2021 at 10 30am.

Dr. Stephen Opuni and Seidu Agongo who is the Chief Executive Officer of Agricult Ghana Limited are are facing a total of 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretense, willfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

Source: Daily Mail

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending

Copyright © 2021, The Press Radio Multimedia

struc