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It is the procurement unit that writes quotations letter – Witness at Opuni trial

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Mr Charles Tetteh Dodoo, a former Director of Finance at COCOBOD, says request letters are sent to companies to solicit quotations for the purchase of fertilizers to help the Procurement Unit prepare notification of contract awards to suppliers.

He said this was done with the input of CODAPEC and HI-TECH Unit of COCOBOD before it would go to the Chief Executive for signing.

Mr Dodoo, in his further evidence in charge led by Mr Samuel Codjoe, the Counsel for Dr Stephen Opuni, the former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, said the request letter had details like delivery site and terms of payment, among others.

Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by a 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.

Mr Dodoo, who is the first Defence Witness, said all letters between the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and the COCOBOD came from the Procurement Unit and were signed by the Chief Executive.

“The Chief Executive never writes letters to the PPA for approvals for the purchase of fertilizers but only signs,” he added.

He said within the 2013/2014 crop season, the Procurement Unit had some correspondence with the PPA concerning issues of fertilizer.

The witness said the Unit wrote the application for approval to sole source fertilizer for Cocoa High-Tech Programme for the 2013/2014 crop season and was dated February 19, 2014, while it also had a response letter from the PPA dated February 20, 2014.

He said the letter was addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of PPA, seeking approval to sole source several fertilizers like Asase Wura fertilizers (Wienco), Cocoa Master (Louis Breyfus), Cocoa feed (Chemico limited), Sidalco 10:10:10 (Sidalco Limited), Sidalco 6:0: 20 (Sidalco Limited) and Lithovit (Agricult company limited).

At this point the Counsel wanted the witness to identify an exhibit, which was a letter from the Procurement Unit to PPA but the prosecution objected to the identification, saying it was an exhibit, which was rejected by the Court some time back.

Mrs Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution, said the exhibit did not exist and the Counsel should not be seen to be eliciting responses from a non-existing document.

The Court upheld the objection, saying the reference to the exhibit could not stand and all references made in this matter were of no effect.

Asked whether he remembered the first time Lithovit fertilizer was purchased by COCOBOD, the witness answered in the negative, saying, it was because there were several fertilizers introduced along the operational chain.

The case was adjourned to December 9, 2021, for continuation.

Source: GNA

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