Business General

Not one CRIG scientist gave bad report of Lithovit; they actually recommended it – Witness

Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser was recommended for procurement by revered scientists from CRIG whose integrity and expertise were never, for once, questioned by the Board and management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Charles Tetteh Dodoo, a former Director of Finance at the state-owned company told the High Court (Criminal Division) presided over by Justice C.J Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as an additional High Court judge, in the GHS217-million financial loss case involving an ex-CEO of the company, Dr Stephen Opuni; and businessman Seidu Agongo.

Under cross-examination on Monday, 11 April 2022 by Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, counsel for Mr Agongo and Agricult Company Limited, who are the Second and Third Accused Persons in the case, Mr Dodoo, who is Dr Opuni’s first defence witness, told the court: “There was not any single instance where an adverse report was made on Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser which would have informed the ETC’s approval of further purchases of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser over the years”.

Also, asked by Mr Nutsukpui: “Sir, what will be your reaction if it was suggested that in buying and paying for Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser, Cocobod paid for a worthless product for which it received no value?” the witness answered: “My Lord, I will treat it with the contempt that it deserves”.

Read excerpts of the cross-examination below:

Q. And when Cocobod is procuring for the season, it procures the agrochemicals that are determined by the scientist as required for application for that particular season. That is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord but I want to add that more specifically by the CODAPEC HI-TECH Unit.

Q. You told this court that the CODAPEC HI-TECH Unit was made up of scientists from CRIG. Is that correct?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. And it is these scientists that determined the agrochemicals, including fertilisers and their prices which Cocobod must procure for any particular season.

A. Yes, my Lord, up to 2013/2014 financial year.

Q. Now, these scientists are the only persons who will determine the suitability of an agrochemicals including fertilisers on use on cocoa.

A. Yes, my Lord, in conjunction with CRIG.

Q. Now, this determination of suitability of agrochemicals for use on cocoa is not made by the Board or Management of Cocobod; that is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. While you served on the Board between 2014 and 2015, the Board had no reason to doubt the integrity of these scientists?

A. No, my Lord, the Board had no reasons to doubt the integrity of these scientists.

Q. As a result, the Board will not question a recommendation made by these scientists to procure particular agrochemicals; that is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. And, sir, because of the process of recommendation by the scientists, no individual board member or individual member of management could have gotten Cocobod to procure a particular fertiliser outside of these recommended by the scientists. Is that correct?

A. No, my Lord, nothing of that to my knowledge.

Q. And, in fact, Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser got recommended by the scientists for procurement, as far as you are aware. That is correct?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Now, sir, it was suggested in this court by PW7 on the 1st of March 2021 that when both the ETC, on which you served as well as the Board approved the procurement of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser, they did not know what they were doing. What do you say to that?

A. My Lord, this assertion is not correct and it is an affront to the members of the ETC. If I may go further, CRIG has inspectors who follow up to the field and report on the performance of the various agrochemicals being applied on the field. There was not any single instance where an adverse report was made on Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser which would have informed the ETC’s approval of further purchases of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser over the years.

Q. Now, sir, from 2014 to 2016, would you remember whether the Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser was bought by Cocobod and applied by the farmers in all of the cocoa seasons of those years?

A. My Lord, any time Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser was procured, I have personally signed letters to haulage companies for the distribution of Lihovit Liquid Fertilisers from various warehouses to the district offices and they have been utilised.

Source: Classfmonline.com

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