The Accra High Court has dismissed an application for stay of proceedings by a former CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo, who are standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss of GH₵271.3 million to the state.
Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo had prayed the court to freeze the hearing until after the final determination of their appeal against the dismissal of their no-case submission at the Court of Appeal.
During the hearing on Wednesday, 26 May 2021, however, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Supreme Court judge sitting as a High Court judge dismissed the prayer of the accused persons, explaining that they failed, through their application, to demonstrate any exceptional circumstance to warrant a stay of proceedings.
He, thus, dismissed the application and ordered Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo to open their defence on 3 June 2021.
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 (AG) in March 2018 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.
Mr Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to Cocobod for onward distribution to cocoa farmers while Dr Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by allowing Mr Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.
The two accused persons have pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and are on self-recognisance bail of GH¢300,000 each.