Ghana News

AG seeks review of ruling that removed Honyenuga from hearing Opuni’s case

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The Attorney General has filed a motion requesting a review of the ruling that stopped Supreme Court Judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga from continuing as the trial judge in the case involving former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court in July 2021 in a 3-2 majority decision presided over by Justice Jones Dotse ruled that Justice Clemence Honyenuga should step aside from the case.

This was after the lawyers for Mr. Opuni petitioned Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and filed a suit at the Supreme Court, having been dissatisfied with Justice Honyenuga presiding over the case because according to them, he had prejudged and determined the guilt of Dr. Opuni.

By the removal of Justice Honyenuga, the Chief Justice had to assign a new judge to the 4-year-old case for the legal process to continue.

However, fresh documents from the AG’s office sighted by Citi News indicate that the Attorney General wants Justice Honyenuga to return as the trial Judge.

It argues that in the ruling of the apex court, the ordinary bench committed a fundamental error in prohibiting the trial judge, who only performed his duty as required by law, to evaluate the evidence adduced by the prosecution in order to determine whether a prima facie case had been made against the respondent.

The grounds on which the AG is making the request is hinged on what it describes as the erroneous construction of sections 116, 117, 118, and 126 of the Evidence Act without compelling reasons to change the law in hearsay,

“That the gross and fundamental errors contained in the decision of the ordinary bench have resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice and render the fit and proper case for the invocation of this Honourable Court’s review jurisdiction to rectify the errors contained in the decision of the ordinary bench”, the document read in parts.

According to the AG, getting off Justice Honyenuga will not be fair because an entirely new Judge will not be abreast of the full facts of the trial.

In conclusion, the AG averred, “that justice and fairness require that the decision of this Court dated 28th July 2021 be reviewed.”

The former COCOBOD CEO and Agricult Ghana Limited CEO, Seidu Agongo, are standing trial together with Agricult Ghana Limited for allegedly causing the state to lose over GHS 217 million in a cocoa fertilizer transaction.

Dr. Opuni and Mr. Agongo are facing 27 charges including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officers, and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges, and are on a ¢300,000 self-recognizance bail, each.

Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to the COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr. Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by allowing Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.

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