Agricult’s Lithovit Fertiliser Contained Almost No Active Ingredients
Dr Alfred Arthur, the Acting Head of the Soil Science Division at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), yesterday testified in court that the fertiliser which was supplied to COCOBOD by Mr Seidu Agongo’s company, Agricult Ghana Limited, at the time Dr Stephen Opuni was the CEO of COCOBOD, captained almost no active ingredients at all.
He said it is well documented that Lithovit fertilizers should contain particular kinds of chemicals (plant nutrients) for plant growth and in certain quantities. However, upon conducting tests in 2017, on a sample of the said Lithovit fertilizers supplied by Agricult Ghana Limited to COCOBOD, it was found that the fertilizer only contained minute amounts of the chemicals.
Dr Arthur, who is a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the former COCOBOD CEO, told the court that a genuine Lithovit fertilizer contains 70 percent of calcium carbonate yet what was supplied by Agricult Ghana Limited had only 0.06 percent of the chemical. Similarly, the genuine sample will have 4 percent of magnesium carbonate yet the one from Agricult has only 0.86 percent of magnesium carbonate.
He added that, he and his colleagues observed that the label on the fertilizer packaging had no manufacturer name, no manufacturing date and no expiration date.
So, based on the results of their testing in 2017 and the questionable labelling, they advised the management of COCOBOD, not to renew the certificate for the fertilizer supplied by Agricult Ghana Limited.
Scientists and technical officers at CRIG, Dr Arthur stated, were prevented from conducting field tests, as such, the issue of having no active ingredients in the Lithovit fertilizer from Agricult went undetected for years before 2017.
Dr Arthur made these statements at today’s concluding part of the Defence’s cross-examination. Benson Nutsukpui, the lawyer for Mr Seidu Agongo, the second accused person in the trial, has been cross-examining Dr Alfred Arthur since the latter part of last year.
Dr Stephen Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo are on trial for allegedly engaging in acts that incurred a financial loss of GH¢271.3m to the state, in a series of fertiliser deals. The charges brought against them by the Attorney General also include defrauding by false pretences, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and acting in contravention of the Public Procurement Act. The two men face decades in prison if found guilty.
The court adjourned sitting till on Thursday 2nd May.