In the ongoing trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, and businessman Mr Seidu Agongo, Mr Peter Okyere Boateng, the Seventh Defense Witness, stated that his recommendation for an increase in Lithovit fertilizer for farmers was approved by the Management.
Mr. Boateng is a former Deputy Director of the Cocoa Health Extension Division of COCOBOD.
According to Mr. Boateng, his proposal for increasing the Lithovit fertilizer supply was based on feedback from cocoa farmers who had used the product.
He revealed that the Seven Regional Managers had requested an increase in the fertilizer supply from 700,000 litres to one million litres based on his recommendation.
“It is my recommendation that was upheld. But as to whether someone is being favoured or not, I cannot speak to it,” Mr Boateng added.
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 violation of the Public Procurement Act.
Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are each on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail.
During further cross-examination led by Mr Benson Nutsukpui, counsel for Mr Agongo, Mr Boateng was asked if his recommendation favoured Agongo and his AgriCult Company.
Mr. Boateng firmly denied any favouritism and stated that he was merely performing his official duties as the Deputy Director in Charge of Monitoring and Evaluation. He emphasized that he had no prior knowledge of Agongo or his company at the time.
In response to questions regarding his field visits, Mr. Boateng confirmed that they had inspected various farms using different types of fertilizers, including granular fertilizer.
He explained that their field visit objectives included assessing issues like black pod disease problems and caterpillar infestations on the farms.
The trial has been adjourned to November 8, 2023, as the case continues to unfold.