The Chief Justice, Kwesi Anin Yeboah, has declined the invitation to transfer the case between the state and former COCOBOD CEO, Dr. Steven Kwabena Opuni to another judge.
Responding to a petition by Dr. Opuni, the Chief Justice said “In view of the fact that no serious allegations of likelihood of bias has been established, I will decline the invitation to transfer the case to another judge.”
Reading the response from the Chief Justice, Supreme Court Judge sitting in as additional high court judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, further read, the Chief Justice’s response indicating that; “I have noticed from the petition that the learned has not made any serious prejudicial statements to infer that there is real likelihood of bias against you as an accused person in the case in which you are yet to open your defence.”
The directive of the Chief Justice, the presiding judge read does not preclude the accused in the exercise of his constitutional rights to report to the judicial process for the transfer he is asking for.
Justice Honyenuga after reading the Chief Justice’s response stated “I must state emphatically that with the direction of the Chief Justice, nothing stops me from continuing this case.”
He said he has also noticed on the docket that Dr. Opuni has filed a motion for discovery of documents fixed for June 29, 2021 but was adjourned to today July 1, 2021.
He further stated “I have also noticed that the Chief State Attorney has complied and filed all the necessary disclosures asked for by A1, however, out of respect for the Supreme Court , where A1 has filed an application of certiorari (supervisory jurisdiction) of the court , which application was fixed for July 13, 2021, I would in the circumstances adjourned this case to abide with the judgement of the Supreme Court.”
Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni is fighting the judge on the grounds that he fears he may not get fair trial because the judge had stated in open court that he wanted to finish the case quickly so that he can concentrate on his duties at the Supreme Court.
He also argued that the trial judge had made final determination of fact in his ruling on the submission of no case, a determination which could only be made at the end of the trial after the accused had opened his defence.
Dr Opuni and the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited have denied charges of causing financial loss to the state and have been asked to open their defence.
Lawyers of the accused according to the court have also filed a case at the Supreme Court seeking its advisory jurisdiction on the matter.
Justice Honyenuga consequently adjourned the case to July 15, 2021.
By Godfred Tanam|3news.com|Ghana