Court of Appeal to deliver judgment on AG’s appeal against Opuni trial to start afresh

The Court of Appeal will on July 3, 2023, deliver a judgment on the Attorney General’s appeal against the trial of Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, a former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, and two others, to start afresh.

The Court presided over by Justice Philip Bright Mensah also dismissed a request from lawyers of Dr Opuni and businessman, Seidu Agongo, to refer the document before it back to the High Court for the full records.

Other panel members are Justice Ernest Owusu-Dapaah and Justice Jennifer Dadzie.

The Court said the ruling of the High Court, the submissions of counsel and the charge sheet were the relevant documents the Court of Appeal required to determine the appeal.

It subsequently directed the Attorney General to file its written submissions by Friday June 16 and lawyers of Dr Opuni and Seidu to also file their written submissions for the appeal a week after June 16, 2023.

The AG filed an appeal against the ruling of Justice Kwasi Anokye Gyimah, who took over from the previous judge, Justice Clemence Hornyenugah, who retired in March in 2023. Justice Gyimah ruled that it was going to start the trial afresh after the State had asked the Court to adopt the proceedings of Justice Hornyenugah.

On June 7, 2023, when the appeal was first called, lawyers of the accused persons told the Court that the records before it for the appeal were incomplete.

They said for the panel to have a proper appreciation of the matter before them, they needed to be ceased with facts of the case before making a determination.

The request was opposed by the prosecution which argued that all that matters for the appeal to be heard has been filed.

On April 25, 2023, the AG, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision that the criminal trial of a former CEO of COCOBOD and two others should be heard de novo.

The AG’s grounds of appeal are that the trial judge, Justice Kwasi Anokye Gyimah, “misdirected himself” in the application of the principles regarding the adoption of evidence in a trial.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully 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 on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

Source: GNA

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