An application by the Attorney General to defend Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah in a quasi-criminal case in the ongoing COCOBOD trial has been rejected by the court.
The state had wanted to defend Dr. Adu-Ampomah in a case of perjury but the Accra High Court ruled that since perjury is a quasi-criminal matter, the AG’s action contradicts the constitution.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah who is the third prosecution witness, was cited for perjury by Samuel Cudjoe, counsel for Dr. Stephen Opuni.
The motion for the perjury was supposed to have been moved on Thursday January 9, 2020 in which Dr. Adu-Ampomah was to justify why he should not be imprisoned for committing perjury.
Throughout his evidence-in-chief and whilst under cross examination, the witnessed consistently told the court that it was the practice at COCOBOD that procurements of fertilizers are done through advertisements in the dailies.
It however turned out in court that COCOBOD has never procured fertilizers through advertisement but rather by sole-sourcing them.
“I am putting it to you that in the entire life of COCOBOD, there has never been any occasion that the general public has been invited to bid for fertilizers by way of advertisement. It has never happened in any newspaper in Ghana,” lawyer Samuel Cudjoe asserted when he cross-examined the witness.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah, a former deputy chief executive officer at COCOBOD in charge of agronomy and quality control, subsequently said “for fertilizers, yes my lord”, admitting that no advertisement was ever done.
But when the state reneged on its responsibility to cite Dr. Adu-Ampomah for perjury, counsel for the first accused decided to file a motion to that effect in November 2019.
When the perjury case was first called on Thursday January 9, 2020, lawyer Cudjoe objected to an affidavit filed by the Attorney General on December 2, 2019 in opposition to the perjury.
Earlier, the judge had asked the respondent, Adu-Ampomah, if he had a lawyer, but he said no, adding, “I thought I was in for the state”.
Mr. Cudjoe then drew the attention of the judge that he even has a primarily objection to the affidavit filed by the AG, which the respondent is seeking to rely on.
“My Lord, it is our position that the AG filling affidavit in opposition is against Article 88 (3) of the constitution,” he said.
Article 88 (3) stipulates that “The Attorney-General shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences”.
Mr. Cudjoe therefore argued that since perjury is a quasi-criminal case the Attorney General cannot represent anyone in such trial.
He cited a number of cases including the Supreme Court vrs the Fast Track High Court in which the National Lotteries Authority was the ex-parte.
“My Lord this is just to show that when it comes to perjury the respondent has to have his own lawyer,” he said.
He accused the AG of “acting unconstitutionally and breaching Article 88 (3)”, explaining, “the AG cannot work against the republic so the affidavit should be struck out”.
But Mrs Stella Ohene Appiah, a Principal State Attorney, said the AG was only an interested party and not representing the respondent, adding that it was Adu-Ampomah who wanted to align himself with the state’s affidavit.
She therefore pleaded for time to enable the respondent to secure the services of a lawyer.
The trial judge, Justice Clemence Honyenugah, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge, therefore upheld the objection of Samuel Cudjoe and struck out the affidavit filed by the state.
“By court, upon hearing the learned counsel for the applicant and the principal state attorney, it is my candid opinion that the state cannot represent the respondent. That will be a clear breach of Article 88 and therefore, the affidavit in opposition filed by the state is struck out. The respondent being a layman will be given 14 days to get a lawyer of his choice.”
The perjury case has therefore been adjourned to January 28, 2020 to enable Adu-Ampomah to find a lawyer to defend him in the perjury since the Attorney General General is unable to defend him.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah has been testifying against former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni as well as Seidu Agongo and his company Agricult Ghana Limited who are standing trial for causing financial loss of over GH¢271 million to the state. They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 each self-recognisance bail.
Source: 3news.com | Ghana