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Opuni Fights Over Bank Account

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Lawyers for Dr. Stephen Opuni, former COCOBOD Chief Executive has hauled the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) before an Accra High Court demanding the anti-graft body to unfreeze his bank accounts.

According to Dr. Opuni, EOCO’s decision to continue freezing his assets is inhuman and wrongful.

In Dr. Opuni’s latest suit, he argues that none of the funds in his two bank accounts, apart from some 25,000 cedis the prosecution has mentioned in the current trial, is the subject of any investigation.

Dr. Opuni says the continuous freezing of his accounts has caused and continues to cause extreme hardships to him and his family.

He says he has not been able to access funds from his accounts and have had to resort to contracting loans to meet his basic daily needs.

He wants the court to set aside the order on April 24, 2018, as being not only an error of law but also an abuse of the court process.

Dr Opuni wants the latest freezing order withdrawn.

EOCO Ordered

Two weeks ago, an Accra High court presided over by Mrs. Georgina Mensah Datsa Court two ordered EOCO to defreeze Dr Opuni’s accounts.

The order dated April 23, said “it is hereby ordered that the Respondent/Applicant’s account numbers (withheld) with Standard Charted Bank Ghana Limited, Opeibea House Branch and Ecobank Ghana Limited, Heda Office Branch, all in the name of Opuni Stephen Kwabena is defrozen forthwith”.

The court gave the order to defreeze his accounts after hearing the arguments from lawyers of Opuni.

The embattled ex-COCOBOD boss is before the court for causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH₵217,370,289.22.

Dr. Opuni is also in the dock with one Seidu Agongo, a businessman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Agricult Ghana Limited.

Charges

The duo is to answer 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretenses, willfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

The ex-COCOBOD boss has been accused of “abetting Agongo and Agricult Ghana Ltd to defraud COCOBOD the sum of GH₵43,120,000 between January and November 2014.

He is also alleged to have abetted the businessman to defraud the state the sum of GH₵ 75,289,314.72 between November 2014 and November 2015.

Dr. Opuni who is also the former CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is facing an additional charge of procuring “the supply of a substance described as ‘Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser’ using public funds without satisfying the prescribed conditions for single-source procurement” in February 2015.

“Stephen Kwabena Opuni, in February 2014 in Accra in the Greater Accra Region influenced the procurement process by misrepresenting facts to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) in order to obtain unfair advantage in the award of contract to Agricult,” the Attorney-General charge sheet read.

The businessman, Seidu Agongo, on the other hand, is said to have between October 2015 and March 2016 with intent to defraud COCOBOD, obtained the consent of COCOBOD to part with the sum of GH₵98,935,974.50 by representing to COCOBOD that he would supply Lithovit Foliar Fertilizer from Germany for application by farmers on cocoa for the 2015/2016 cocoa season, a representation he knew to be false at the time of making it.

He is also alleged to have sold “misbranded” and “adulterated” fertilizer to COCOBOD.

Seidu Agongo has also been charged with money laundering – taking possession of the sum of GH₵75,289,314.72 while knowing it to be proceeds of crime.”

Both accused persons have denied all charges.

By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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