Cocoa Nti fertilizer was not submitted for testing- witness in Opuni’s trial confirms

Mr Jerome Agbesi Dogbatse, a Research Scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), has confirmed that no Cocoa Nti fertilizer samples were ever submitted to the Institute for testing. He also stated that there was no evidence or record of a delegation from Morocco's OCP, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Enepa Ventures visiting CRIG in 2013 with a proposal to submit a Cocoa Nti fertilizer sample for cocoa testing. Mr Dogbatse, a subpoenaed witness for Mr Seidu Agongo, was giving further evidence in chief in the trial of Dr Stephen Opuni, former chief executive officer of COCOBOD, led by Mr Benson Nutsukpui, Agongo's counsel. Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by a public officer in contravention of the Public Procurement Act. They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GHS300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each. Dogbatse said, 'I do not kno w of any fertiliser company that was prosecuted by the State after a report was produced by CRIG concerning them.' The witness told the Court that Rev. Father Dr. E.O.K. Oddoye, the Deputy Executive Director in Charge of Cocoa and chair of a committee investigating Cocoa Nti fertilizer, suspended Dr Alfred Arthur and found him guilty in 2016. In 2013, Dr Arthur travelled to Morocco with the local suppliers of 'Cocoa Nti' granular fertilizer, Enepa Ventures Limited, to meet with the product's manufacturers. Mr Dogbatse said Dr Arthur was transferred to Bonsu substation of CRIG but in 2017 he was re-transferred back to CRIG Tafo. He confirmed that Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah, COCOBOD's former Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control, and Dr. Franklin Amoh, a former Executive Director, returned from retirement and resumed their previous positions. It came out from the proceedings that Dr Adu-Ampomah, Dr Arthur, and Dr Amoh, were the only witness in the trial that had complained about lithovi t fertilizer, but the witness said, 'I know of my colleague Dr Arthur, who had complained about lithovit fertiliser, but l do not know of the rest.' The Case was adjourned to May 6, 2024. Source: Ghana News Agency