By Kwabena Adu Koranteng
Former COCOBOD Chief Executive, Dr Stephen Opuni has brought a case against the state demanding the production of documents to be used against him in court.
He wants the prosecution to be ordered by the court to “produce all documents which have come into its possession, custody and or knowledge in the course of the investigations…”
Dr. Opuni who is standing trial alongside private businessman, Seidu Agongo, said the demand for the documents was in exercise of his constitutional right to all facilities necessary to adequately defend himself.
The two men, together with Mr. Agongo’s Agricult Ghana Ltd., face 27 charges of causing financial loss to the state, conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretence, abetment of crime, amongst others.
In a motion filed last week, Dr Opuni’s lawyers, led by Mr. Samuel M Codjoe, are demanding 13 different items from the prosecution.
All the items relate to the trial of the two men and the company.
They want all witness statements, all witness statements of prosecution witnesses who will be called at trial and that of those who will not be called, all letters written by COCOBOD through Dr Opuni to the Public Procurement Authority and so on.
The issue of access to prosecution’s documents dominated the early arguments of the case in which the state is prosecuting some five people in connection with the procurement of security equipment by the National Communications Authority.
The Attorney-General Gloria Akuffo had offered to give defence attorneys some documents but opposed a request for every single document to be relied on by the prosecution in advance.
The case was eventually referred to the Supreme Court by the trial judge. It is yet to be determined by the apex court.
It was, therefore, not surprising that lawyers for Dr Opuni made a similar request.
The motion attached details what the accused are demanding from the state:
Meanwhile The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo says her office will yield to the request by lawyers for the embattled former COCOBOD boss to provide all documents they need to defend their client.
According to her, she will do everything possible within the law to secure the conviction of the two suspects- Dr Stephen Opuni and private businessman Seidu Agongo- both of whom are currently standing trial at an Accra High Court.
Gloria Akuffo says her outfit is ready to provide the defence all the documents they needed to fight their case but was quick to add, the state will do all it takes under the law to secure convictions against the suspects.
“We have been served; we are on application by the lawyers in the matter. It is not new. It does not come to me as a surprise.
She said the accused has a right to fair hearing and the state will grant him that right to a fair opportunity to be able to prosecute his case.
“We are going to court. We are prepared to give them everything. We have nothing to hide especially when we, after all, we believe in the right of the individual to defend himself.
Dr. Stephen Opuni, is also alleged to have awarded contracts totaling about $512 million during the transition period, a contract, part of which was later abrogated.
The suspects have pleaded not guilty for the charges leveled against them.
In a motion filed last week, Dr Opuni’s lawyers, led by Mr. Samuel M Codjoe, are demanding 13 different items from the prosecution