The Criminal Division of the High Court could not continue hearing the criminal charges brought against former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni today, June 26, 2020 due to the absence of the prosecution witnesses.
The case was subsequently adjourned to July 6, 2020.
The Principal State Attorney prosecuting the case, Stella Ohene Appiah told the Court that the witnesses had not been prepared for Court since the State was operating under the presumption that an application for stay of prosecution pending the determination of an appeal on an interlocutory appeal fixed for 2nd July 2020, had taken effect.
But the presiding Judge, Clemence Honyenugah, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as an additional High Court judge, clearly upset about the development, ruled that an application for stay of proceedings does not operate as an automatic stay.
Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni is standing trial alongside Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana limited for wilfully causing financial loss to the State.
Some 27 charges have been levelled against them, including defrauding by false pretence, Money Laundering, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, and Manufacturing fertilizer with registration.
They have both already pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000 self-recognizance bail each.
In October 2019 it was reported that the hard drive containing records of the ongoing criminal case has gone missing.
The hard drive is part of a number of hard drives gathered have been stolen from system units in about five High Courts at the new law court complex.
Operatives of the National Security who were said to be investigating the matter arrested some workers in the affected courts as well as Judicial Service staff who worked in the Information Technology (IT) department for questioning at the time.