The Supreme Court has, today, Wednesday, 28 July 2021 barred the High Court Judge Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga from hearing the Opuni, Agongo case.
The court also said the issues Justice Honyenuga dismissed while hearing the case will be admitted.
Justice Honyenuga has been accused of political bias against the defense.
It is recalled that in a video that went viral ahead of the 2020 polls, Justice Honyenuga in his stead as Torgbui Ashui Nyagasi V of the Nyagbo Traditional area told president Akufo-Addo during his tour of the Volta region that “…we wish to congratulate you for the excellent manner you are governing this dear country of ours, it is our hope that with your vision and the gains made in your first term, Ghanaians may consider giving you another four years”.
Lead Counsel for Dr Opuni, Samuel Codjoe raised objections to the judge’s continuous sitting on the case since in his estimation, the supposedly criminal case has metamorphosed into a political one with some NPP bigwigs including a deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, backing the re-election bid of the ruling government on the success of this case. This he says makes the judge unfit to continue the trial since his comments seem to align with the aspirations of the NPP.
Justice Honyenuga in his ruling on March 16, 2020, however, dismissed the motion for his recusal describing the motion as incompetent and misconceived. He further described the allegations of bias against him as “mere perceptions and exaggerated to suit the first accused and others” adding that “the allegations, the alleged comments are non-judicial and will not constitute bias or any other matter”.
On July 13, lawyers of Dr Opuni, told the Supreme Court how one of two evidence which gave contrasting accounts on Lithovite fertiliser was rejected by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, as he seeks the judge’s removal from the COCOBOD case.
Moving the application for Justice Honyenuga, Justice of the Supreme Court to be prohibited from the case, Mr Codjoe argued that, ”a statement given by a farmer which said Lithogite fertiliser was good was rejected and another one which a farmer said Lithovite was bad was accepted.”
He contended that the accused person senses a possible bias and would not be given a fair hearing if the judge is allowed to continue with the case.
Dr Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo are in court for allegedly causing GHS217 million financial loss to the state case in connection with the procurement of fertiliser by COCOBOD.
The two men have been standing trial since 2017.