Re-evaluation of agrochemicals, fertilizers and machines starts in July of every year – Witness

Reverend Father Emmanuel Okpoti Kofi Oddoye, a former Deputy Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), has stated that re-evaluation of agrochemicals, fertilizers, and machinery usually starts in July of every year.

He stated that chemical companies sent samples of agrochemicals sold to COCOBOD to CRIG for re-evaluation at a cost.

Rev Father Oddoye, a subpoenaed witness for Mr Seidu Agongo, was speaking in his evidence in chief in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni, a former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, led by Mr Benson Nutsukpui, Counsel for Agongo.

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

Rev Father Oddoye said apart from providing samples for the re-evaluation of the agrochemicals, the companies did not have any other role in the re-evaluation exercises.

The witness said the Chairman of the CTCM, in consultation with the Executive Director of CRIG, initiated and carried out the re-evaluation exercise.

He said that when agrochemicals, fertilisers, and machinery were initially checked and proven to be correct, a certificate was granted for one year.

The former Deputy Executive Director said to be issued a new certificate in a subsequent year, some form of re-evaluation was carried out to ensure that the agrochemicals, fertilisers, and machines were still effective.

“During the re-evaluation period CRIG will request samples from the Chemical companies but will also take samples from the various chemicals used in the field,” he said.

He explained that re-evaluations were conducted in the second half of the year preceding the one in which the certifications were granted.

“Chemical Companies do not have any role in initiating the re-evaluation of their products sold to COCOBOD,” he said.

The witness said it was the sole responsibility of CRIG to initiate the re-evaluation exercise for agrochemicals.

He said that when he joined CRIG’s Deputy Executive Director, he was unfamiliar with the product lithovit liquid fertiliser, which was one of the fertilizers examined and purchased by COCOBOD.

“I got to know of Lithovit when letters were sent to agrochemical companies for the re-evaluation and the products to be re-evaluated were listed,” he said.

He said the list of companies for reevaluation was prepared in consultation with the Office of the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control.

The witness said when he assumed office as the Deputy Executive Director there were no complaints or issues relating to lithovit liquid fertiliser until the end of 2017.

He noted that CRIG simply assessed the product and advised COCOBOD on its acceptability; procurement and supply to farmers were not within the centre’s purview.

Source: GNA

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