General

Cocobod payments to Agongo’s Agricult were clean – Witness

None of the payments made by the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) to Agricult Company Limited owned by businessman Seidu Agongo, for the supply of various quantities of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser, was irregular, abnormal or inappropriate, a former Director of Finance at the state-owned company, Mr Charles Tetteh Dodoo, who is the first defence witness for ex-Cocobod CEO Stephen Opuni, who is being tried with Mr Agongo and Agricult, told the court on Monday, 11 April 2022 in the ongoing GHS217-million financial loss case.

Under cross-examination by Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, the counsel for Mr Agongo and Agricult, Mr Tetteh Dodoo said all the payments made to Agricult by Cocobod for the supply of fertilisers were clean.

Put to him by Mr Nutsukpui: “So, you can confirm to this honourable court that all payments captured in exhibit EE, FF and GG series were validly and regularly made by Cocobod to the third accused person?” Mr Tetteh Dodoo answered: “Yes, my Lord”.

Dr Opuni, Mr Agongo and his Agricult Company Limited (First, Second and Third Accused Persons) have been charged with 27 counts in connection with the supply of alleged substandard fertiliser which, according to the State, caused the nation to lose GHS217 million.

Read excerpts of the cross-examination below:

Q. Sir, there is nothing special about exhibit DD which Cocobod signed with the third accused person as compared to exhibit exhibits 96, 97 and 98, which Cocobod signed with other companies. This is correct

A. My Lord, that is correct on the face of the document.

Q. And with exhibits U, Z and DD which Cocobod had signed with the third accused person, as far as you are aware, those contracts went through the same processes as exhibits 92,93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98. That is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. As far as you are aware, the Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser purchased by Cocobod from the third accused person had been duly delivered to Cocobod in accordance with the terms of agreement between Cocobod and the third accused person.

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Please take a look at exhibit EE; that is in respect of payment made by Cocobod to the third accused person in respect of the contract for the supply of 700,000 litres of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser; that is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord. It is paying part of the 700,000 litres.

Q. Now, sir, the instructions of transfer of funds in exhibit EE was signed by which persons?

A. DCE F&A and Deputy Director of Finance.

Q. Are those the appropriate persons to sign the instructions for the transfer of funds?

A. Yes, my Lord…

Q. What is the date on the instructions for transfer?

A. 13th August 2014.

Q. Sir, these instructions were given only after proof of delivery of the 400,000 litres in respect of which the payment was being made. That is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Sir, I believe you were at post as Director of Finance at the time of the payment per exhibit EE.

A. Yes, my Lord. In instructed the inspection and upon proof of delivery, in instructed the transfer o funds.

Q. You said the request for payment was addressed to the CE at the time.

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Was that the appropriate procedure?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. And sir, as Director of Finance, do you recall whether it was only the third accused person that got paid around this time for the supply it made to Cocobod?

A. I do not recall but all others who supplied at that time would be paid.

Q. Sir, but do you remember whether payment made to the third accused person went through the normal Cocobod channels as all other suppliers had to go through?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Did payment to the third accused person get an expedited treatment or an intervention from anywhere at all to get you, as the Director of Finance, to instruct the payment per exhibit EE.

A. No, my Lord.

Similarly, Mr Dodoo said all other consignments supplied by the third accused person went through the same procedure before any payment was made.

He said all the payments went through the “appropriate payment processes”.

Mr Tetteh also said it “was not unusual” for some of the payments to have been made on the same day.

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