Justice of the Supreme Court, Clemence Honyenuga, sitting as a High Court judge, has dismissed an application by former COCOBOD Chief Executive, Dr Stephen Opuni seeking to stay proceedings pending the determination of an appeal against his trail.
The appeal, filed at the Court of Appeal — was against the trial court’s decision which ordered the former COCOBOD CEO to call his defence witnesses out of turn.
When the case was called on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, Samuel Codjoe (Esq.), Counsel for Dr Opuni, argued that the court erred when it stated that his client called his witnesses out of turn.
He argued further ..…“The prosecution did not have this condition imposed on it when it was conducting its case, and this is because there were instances where this court adjourned the case to enable their witnesses who were not present in court to appear before the court.
He explained that since the case was a criminal trial, his client’s right to a fair trial would be breached if he is ordered to call his witnesses out of turn,”.But the State Attorney, Stella Ohene Appiah, opposed the motion.
She argued that the accused had not demonstrated any exceptional circumstance for the Court to grant his request.
“In that case, this interlocutory appeal on which this application is premised, in our humble opinion, is doomed to fail, and we, therefore, submit that the application should be refused,” the State Attorney asserted.
In his ruling, Justice Honyenuga dismissed the application on the grounds that no exceptional circumstance had been demonstrated to warrant the grant of stay of proceedings.
The court, he said, had the power to order witnesses out of turn in order to ensure effective trial.
Dr Opuni is standing trial with businessman, Seidu Agongo, Chief Executive of Agricult Ghana Limited, producers of the lithovit liquid fertiliser, the acquisition of which has been the key subject of the trial.
He and the other accused have been charged of causing a financial loss of more than GH¢271 millionto the state.
Both have pleaded not guilty and are on self-recognisance bail in the sum of GH¢300,000 each.