Lawyers of the former Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni have filed an application asking Justice Clemence Honyenuga, who has attained the retirement age of 70 to step down from his case.
Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, attained the age of 70 on September 4, this year, but has been granted a six months extension by the Chief Justice to wrap up the trial as per the law, a development Dr. Opuni and his lawyers have raised concerns with.
The Supreme Court judge has been presiding over the case in which Dr. Opuni and two others are standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GHc271 million in the alleged fraudulent procurement of Lithovite Liquid Fertilizer.
In court on Monday, November 7, 2022, when the case was called, lawyers of Dr. Opuni led by Lawyer Samuel Codjoe indicated to the court about the latest application.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, said even though a copy of the said application was shown to her, the prosecution has not been served.
Justice Honyenuga after listening to the parties adjourned the case to November 14, 2022.
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent Murtala Inusah, Dr. Opuni who was a subject matter of a six-weeks excuse duty following an eye surgery was present in court.
Dr. Opuni and Businessman Seidu Agongo, the Chief Executive Officer of Agricult Ghana Limited all pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been granted bail. So far, the prosecution had closed its case after calling seven witnesses with the seventh Defence witness for Dr. Opuni currently in the witness box.
On October 17, a Medical Director of St. Lucy Eye Clinic, Dr. Kodjo Abalo provided justification for the six weeks excuse duty granted to Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, who had had some eye surgeries saying, “Six weeks is crucial in the healing process of the eye.”
Dr Abalo, was on October 11, 2022 summoned by the Criminal Division of the Accra High to explain to the court the circumstances leading to his excuse duty to Dr. Opuni who is said to have had eye surgery.
When the trial resumed on October 11, after a two-month legal vacation, lawyers of Dr Opuni led by Samuel Codjoe informed the court about Dr. Opuni’s ill health, but the doctor was summoned by the court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge.
In Court on Monday, October 17, Dr. Kodjo Abalo, the Medical Director of St Lucy Eye Clinic told the court that Dr. Opuni is his patient, who came to the facility on a referral basis but not as a walk-in patient.
He said Dr. Opuni came to the facility on May 21, 2022, with a referral letter and a printout of the optical Coherence, and that after examination, the only treatment was for the facility to operate on the eye.
According to him, Dr. Opuni came back after recovering from Covid-19 on Sept 9, 2022, ready for the operation, and after the pre-operative was done, the operation was done on September 23, 2022.
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