Opuni 3rd Witness Accused Of Deceit

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THE DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, yesterday accused Thomas Amoh Amankwah, a farmer who is testifying on behalf of former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, of manipulating a cocoa farmers’ passbook purposely to deceive the trial court.

Dr. Opuni together with businessman, Seidu Agongo are on trial for allegedly causing over GH¢217 million financial loss to the state.

The witness during his evidence-in-chief tendered his passbook- a document that details the number of cocoa seeds sold by a farmer during a cocoa season and how much he or she was paid.

The document is, however, heavily redacted with several pages torn from the book, and the witness told the court that he asked the Cocoa Purchasing Clerk in the Berekum District of the Central Region to tear out those pages due to certain errors made on them.

While under cross-examination, the DPP put it to the witness that the passbook which he presented to the court as part of his evidence was a manipulation and something of his own making just to deceive the court that he had used the controversial Lithovit liquid fertiliser and obtained high yield.

“You have said that there were mistakes in the passbook and because of that you directed that the pages be torn. I am putting it to you that this exhibit is one which is subject to your manipulation because you directed some pages to be torn out of the book and made your own insertions in the book on a number of pages at will,” Mrs. Obuobisa challenged the witness. “It is not true that I tore those pages out,” the witness replied.

The DPP then put it to the witness that if indeed those pages were torn out as he claimed, then it would have affected the corresponding pages at the other side of the passbook, instead all the pages were still intact.

Thomas Amankwah responded that the Purchasing Clerk tore out the pages that contained the mistake and the book was not made in such a way that when one side is torn the opposite side should also tear off.

“I put it to you that your answer is not true. From the passbook if you tear one side, the other side will also remove,” the DPP pressed. “What counsel is saying is not true. What I am saying is the truth,” the witness responded.

Purchasing Clerk

Mrs. Obuobisa during the cross-examination asked the witness what the name of the Purchasing Clerk at Biadan is, and the witness said Nana Yeboah, adding that he had been there since he (witness) was a child.

The DPP, however, put it to the witness that his answer was untrue as the Purchasing Clerk at Biadan since 2012 till date is Peter Owusu Akuoko.

“I put it to you that the fact that you do not know the name of the Purchasing Clerk who has been in Biadan from 2012 to date shows that you only came to this court to testify about things that are not true about Lithoivt liquid fertilizer,” the DPP stated.

“That is not true. When you come to we Akans, any elderly person is called Nana, so we in Berekum call him Nana Yeboah, and that is then name he responds to,” the witness responded.

The DPP also put it to the witness that he does not have a farm at Biadan, as records at the district office with registration code BA-0206 under Berekum society does not include the name Thomas Amoh Amankwah. “It is not true. I have a farm at Biadan,” the witness replied.

Mrs. Obuobisa then pointed out to the witness that the passbook he tendered as evidence does not contain the signature of the Purchasing Clerk in the Berekum district where he claims his farms are, and he said the clerk’s signature is not in the passbook because he asked his workers to do the recordings and sign.

Asked if the Purchasing Clerk was literate or not, the witness said he is an illiterate but has worked for so many years and has experience in the job.

Again, Mrs. Obuobisa pointed out that a look at the middle page of the passbook shows clear marks of staple pins being removed – which shows that the witness put the document together just to come and testify in court that Lithovit is good for his use as a farmer.

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