I did not alter the records in the passbook – Witness in Opuni case

Mr Thomas Amo Amankwah, the third defence witness in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni and two others, says he has not altered the records in his passbook.

He said, all the records written in the passbook were written by the Cocoa purchasing clerks, who bought his Cocoa beans.

The witness in a cross examination by Mrs Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution, said, “I will want to attribute all mistakes and errors in the passbook to the clerks, who handled my book.”

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 a public officer and 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.

Mrs Attakora-Obuobisa insisted that the witness altered the records in the passbook, but he disagreed.

The witness said he did not come to the Court to throw dust into the eyes of the Court and that the records were written by the clerks.

The Prosecution suggested to the witness that the passbook was unreliable and full of inconsistency and could not be testament on the use of any fertilizer or agro chemical, but the witness disagreed.

“Your entire evidence is not reliable even on page two of the passbook, where the date of issue was written as 9/12/2017, you had deliberately altered it to read 9/12/12 to deceive the Court.” Mrs Attakora-Obuobisa said but the witness disagreed.

The witness said Cocoa farmers did not write in the passbook, only clerks wrote in the book.

The Prosecution pointed to the witness that as a literate Cocoa farmer, he knew how much he would receive for his Cocoa beans per kilo and the witness said as farmers, their focus was on the money they would receive and not the per kilo stuff being mentioned.

“All we are interested in as farmers is the money, we will be paid,” he added.

He explained that, per the mentions from the Prosecution, there were some inconsistencies in the records, but the explanation was that when “your beans were good, and the clerk like them something small was added to your initial payment likewise if the bean is not too good the clerk might not pay you the full amount.”

The State said on the face of the records, there was no evidence that something small was added or subtracted, the witness agreed but said that would be an arrangement between the clerk and the farmer.

Mr Attakora-Obuobisa said the witness was not truthful to the Court, because the farmer was given the value per kilo and not how nice looking the beans were, but the witness said, “l am a Christian and as such trained with Christian values.”

He said the Court was not a place where anyone could just come and say anything, maybe the State Attorney had not cultivated Cocoa before to know these things.

The case was adjourned to June 2, 2022, for continuation.

Source: GNA

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