Third prosecution witness, Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah got defence counsel and many in court bemused when he gave a clean sheet to all test reports from CRIG to COCOBOD as being credible to work with, contrary to his previous submissions which brought the credibility of the research agency into dispute.
The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) is a division under the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) with a mandate to undertake research which include testing agrochemicals and advising the latter on products efficacy or otherwise.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah who is former Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD has been testifying against former COCOBOD CEO Dr. Stephen Opuni and Seidu Agongo the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited accused of causing financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state due to the distribution of sub-standard fertiliser to cocoa farmers.
The product, Lithovit Foliar fertilizer, that the state described as sub-standard was duly tested and certified by CRIG, but Dr. Adu-Ampomah on December 5, 2019 told the court what was supposed to be a scientific test result of CRIG was rather “unscientific”.
He therefore faulted COCOBOD under Dr. Opuni for seeking clearance from the Public Procurement Authority to purchase the product based on CRIG certification.
This was when he answered questions under cross-examination led by Samuel Cudjoe who is the counsel for Dr. Opuni.
Interestingly, on January 9, 2020, Dr. Adu-Ampomah made a surprise U-turn by telling the court that CRIG’s certification is enough reason to believe that products are duly tested.
He was this time being cross-examined by Nutifafa Nutsukpui, who held brief for Benson Nutsukpui, Counsel for Agongo.
For instance, when asked when the Acetastar insecticide was tested, he said he wouldn’t know but said since there was a certificate accompanying it he presumed it was tested.
“So once again the CRIG certification was enough to believe it was tested?” lawyer Nutifafa Nutsukpui asked. He answered “yes my Lord”.
He was further asked, “in all your period as deputy CEO A and QC you have to rely on certification from CRIG. That is correct.” “Yes my Lord”, Dr. Adu-Ampomah said.
“Sir do you know whether or not a sample of the Asontem liquid fertilizer has ever been tested by CRIG?” the counsel asked. In his reply, the witness was emphatic, “my Lord, so long as a CRIG certification was accompanying it, it is assumed it was tested.”
Mr. Nutsukpui then put it to him, “Will I be right to say any one in your position and CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board has done no wrong to rely on CRIG certification to award contract on fertilizers and agrochemicals.”
Dr. Adu-Ampomah then answered, “My Lord ideally yes”.
The court has adjourned sitting to January 21 for cross-examination to continue.
Meanwhile, Dr. Adu-Ampomah has been accused of perjury. An attempt by the Attorney General to defend him in that quasi-criminal offence was rejected by the court.
The court has therefore directed him to find his own lawyer to defend him in the perjury case.
The witness had consistently told the court that it was the practice at COCOBOD that procurement of fertilizers are done through advertisements in the dailies, but it turned not to be the case.
The perjury case against Adu-Ampomah would be heard on January 28.
Source: 3news.com | Ghana