Accra, May 07, GNA - An Accra High Court has ordered Dr Stephen Opuni, former Chief Executive Officer, COCOBOD and two others to open their defence in their ongoing trial.
The Court said the prosecution had made a prima facie case against them.
The Court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga in his ruling on a submission of no case, said the prosecution had succeeded in proving the essential ingredients in the charges levelled against the accused persons except for three charges on money laundering.
The prosecution however failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons on the charges of money laundering and they are hereby acquitted and discharged, he said.
The Court, therefore, ordered Dr Opuni to open his defence on May 17, 2021.
Mr Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni, payed for 14 days that they could prepare very well and to also enable them obtain a copy of the ruling from the Court’s registry.
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Attorney-General said the fundamental of every trial was expeditious time.
He said the Court has indicated that the ruling would be filed by Monday and the accused persons would have ample time between Monday and May 14 to prepare for their defense.
"I do not know why they need the ruling before they can open their defense unless they intend to embark on a different cause," he said.
The Judge said the trial has taken almost three years and he wanted to finish it as quickly as possible so that he could concentrate on his core duties at the Supreme Court.
Dr Opuni, Seidu Agongo, a Businessman, and one other filed separate applications asking the Court to acquit and discharge them in the ongoing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state.
The accused persons argued that the prosecution at the end of its case failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove any of the 27 charges levelled against them.
The prosecution also contended that contrary to that assertions made in the accused persons’ submissions of no case applications, the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were not in any way discredited under cross-examination, and their evidence remain credible and reliable.
Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢ 300,000.00 self-recognizance bail, each.