Prosecution wants Chief Justice to appoint new trial judge in Opuni case

Chief Justice Anin Yeboah

Prosecution handling the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni, a Former Chief Executive of COCOBOD and two others want the Chief Justice to appoint a new trial judge for the case. 

This is because the current trial judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as an additional High court judge, had been hearing the trial since 2018 and following his retirement last September, he was granted a six-month extension by the Chief Justice to conclude the case.

That mandate expires at the end of February 2023.

Mr Alfred Tuah- Yeboah. Deputy Attorney-General, who made the plea on Thursday, said the request was in the interest of justice and fairness.

Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo, a Businessman 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 each on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail.

The Deputy A-G said the prosecution was aware of the motion on notice for the recusal of the trial judge from further hearing the matter.

He said without prejudice to the pending motion and pursuant to Article 145 (4) of the Constitution, the trial judge was granted a limited mandate for the completion of the matter.

Mr Tuah-Yeboah said the time left for the trial judges’ mandate to expire was extremely limited and that Seidu Agongo was yet to open his defence in the matter.

He said it was impossible for the matter to be concluded.

Mr Samuel Cudjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni told the court that his client had nothing to say.

Meanwhile, Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, Counsel for Agongo commended the Deputy Attorney-General for the suggestion.

Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, who informed the parties of the Supreme Court’s 7-0 unanimous decision on February 22, 2023, dismissed the review application to prohibit certiorari for perpetual injunction filed by Dr Opuni.

He said the details of their decision would be filed at the Registry of the Supreme Court on or by the close of Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

The Judge, having heard the Deputy A-G and the parties, said he would adjourn the matter and await the decision of the Supreme Court.

He said, “I should be the first person to be worried considering the numerous applications filed in this matter in this court and both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.”

“I will adjourn the matter to Wednesday, March 1, 2023, so that we hear the full reasons of the Supreme Court, and we get the full import of the Supreme Court,” he added.

 Initially, an Accra High Court was supposed to hear a motion on notice filed by Seidu Agongo for the withdrawal of the trial judge from further hearing the matter.

Source: GNA

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