THE COMMENCEMENT of the full trial in the case in which the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni, and two others are facing trial for wilfully causing financial loss to the state is expected to be fixed tomorrow, Wednesday, June 13.
The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court will also rule on the application made by the accused persons’ lawyers for the accused persons to be given all documents the prosecution intends to rely on for the trial.
It would be recalled that on April 11, 2018 the court, presided over by Justice Clemence J. Honyenugah, put the case on hold until a case referred to the Supreme Court involving former heads of the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the State had been ruled on.
The question of whether or not suspects are legally entitled to documents the state intends to rely on in prosecuting them forced two high profile cases – one involving former COCOBOD CEO and another involving four former NCA officials and a businessman, both at an Accra High Court – to be put on hold as the Attorney General and defence lawyers disagreed on which documents should be made available.
On the motion moved by lawyers of Dr Opuni, which was premised on Article 19(2) (e) and (g) of the 1992 Constitution, the court said its attention had been drawn to a similar matter before the Supreme Court and therefore held on its ruling until the apex court ruled on the matter.
When Dr Opuni appeared in court for the first time after the Supreme Court ruling on Article 19(2) (e) & (g), the court said it had not received the true certified ruling of the Supreme Court.
Justice Honyenugah adjourned the matter to June 13 to rule on the matter and subsequently fixed a date for the commencement of the full trial.
Supreme Court ruling on Article 19(2)(e)&(g)
The apex court last Tuesday ordered the Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, to hand over all documents to former top officials of the NCA and a businessman standing trial for causing financial loss to the state.
The seven-member panel, chaired by Justice William Atuguba, also gave the Attorney General the discretion to hold on to some documents on the basis of relevance and public interest. This discretion will, however, be subject to a review by the trial judge or the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court, in its decision read by Justice Sophia Adinyira Thursday, June 7, 2018, stated that the current restrictions in Ghana’s laws impede justice delivery and, therefore, ordered that all documents be handed over to the suspects and their lawyers except where there is justification not to.