Opuni saga: EOCO goes after top CRIG technocrats over ‘cooked’ fertilizer certificate

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MYNEWSGH.com has information that some top scientists of the Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG) are being investigated by the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) for their roles in the production and printing of a fertilizer certificate when they had not, in fact, tested the chemicals.

An investigative committee set up by Cocobod to look into the procurement and testing of fertilizers submitted their report to the company, which led to the commencement of prosecution against Dr Stephen Opuni and Seidu Agongo.

MYNEWSGH.com has learnt it is not only Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo who are in hot waters, but the technocrats at CRIG who aided and abetted in the commission of the crime are at also being questioned and will be processed for the courts.

One of the top scientists, Mr Alexander Asante Afrifa “grossly misconducted himself when he issued a report claiming that field trials for testing on Lithovit and Duapa fertilizers had been done, when in fact, it had not been done,” the investigative report said.

The investigative committee said the fertilizers the technocrats recommended had not been tested on any cocoa anywhere but the scientists gave out a report that concluded that it was suitable for cocoa, leading to the loss of millions of dollars of state money.

Dr Opuni, Mr 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.

According to the state, Dr Opuni also took a bribe of GHS25,000 from Mr Agongo in October 2014 to facilitate the award of one of the contracts by misrepresenting facts to the Public Procurement Authority.

The state also said the 2014 contract was awarded without any price quotation.

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