General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
The state’s second prosecution witness in the Opuni-Agongo fertiliser trial, Dr Alfred Arthur, has told an Accra High Court on Monday, 26 November 2018 that Lithovit Folia Fertiliser was fully tested on cocoa seedlings in December 2013.
According to Dr Arthur, he was assigned a specific role by lead scientist at the time, Mr A.A. Afrifa, which was fully completed awaiting test on mature trees.
Dr Arthur also told the court presided over by Justice C.Y. Hornyenuga that Lithovit Folia Fertiliser was at the time used as standard for testing on seedlings since its performance was already known.
Dr Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and AgriCult Ghana Company Limited, are facing 27 charges of willfully causing financial loss of GHS217million to the state, through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016.
The contracts were GHS43.1million (2013/2014 cocoa farming season), GHS75.3million (2014/2015 cocoa farming season) and GHS98.9million (2015/2016 cocoa farming season) totaling GHS217million through sole-sourcing, the state claimed, adding that procurement procedures for sole-sourcing were not followed.
According to the charges, the consignments of Lithovit Foliar were produced locally, contrary to an agreement between COCOBOD and AgriCult Ghana Company Limited that it be sourced from Germany.
Also, the Attorney General claims the fertilisers were manufactured without registration, thereby, flouting the Plants and Fertiliser Act 2010.
Below are excerpts of Monday’s cross examination by Mr Benson Nutsukpui, lawyer for Businessman man Seidu Agongo.
Q. On the 16th of January 2018, you gave a statement to the police. Is it true that by end of December, you had completed the testing of lithovit on the seedlings. A. Yes but we were waiting to go for the field trials in 2014.
Q. You and who were waiting to go for field trial in 2014? A. The soil science division.
Q. You said you had concluded the testing on the seedling and waiting to go do field testing. Were you going to do field testing on the seedling? A. Field testing on mature cocoa trees. Before you go to the field, you do nursery work and obtain effective rates that will be used on the field.
Q. Is it also true that in the testing of the seedlings, you were using lithovit as one of the fertilisers, the performance of which you already knew.
A. Not correct. The CID said Otuo claimed to have worked on lithovit starting December so I was explaining to them that if that was the case, then maybe he was using it as one of the standards.
Q. You use a fertiliser for standard when its already tested. That’s correct. A. Yes
Q. So when CRIG included lithovit as a standard for testing on seedlings in December, that is evident that test on seedlings at that time had been concluded. A. Yes