Mr. Thomas Amo Amankwah, the third defence witness in the prosecution of Dr. Stephen Opuni and two others, testifies that farmers who utilized lithovit liquid fertilizer were “saved” by it.
He stated, “We have used other fertilizers in the past, but the application of lithovit liquid fertilizer has resulted in substantial crop yields.”
During cross-examination by Mr. Nutifafa Nutsukpui, Counsel for Seidu Agongo, Chief Executive Officer of Agricult Ghana Limited, the witness told the court that it was untrue that the lithovit fertilizer purchased by COCOBOD had resulted in financial loss.
Dr. Opuni and Mr. Agongo face 27 accusations, including fraud by false pretenses, wilful financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by a public person, and violation of the Public Procurement Act.
Each has entered a not-guilty plea and posted bail of GH300,000.00 on their own recognizance.
He further denied that any farmer had had or could consume lithovit liquid fertilizer.
Before the introduction of liquid fertilizer, farmers were trained by officers of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, who informed them that chemicals had an effect on the body, according to the witness.
Mr. Amankwah stated that the goal of all farmers was to increase their yields year after year and that they had used several fertilizers, but lithovit liquid fertilizer was “excellent.”
He stated no one ever complained about the fertilizer not being good and if it had had any bad effect on cocoa crops, farmers would not beg for additional supplies from the government.
Mr Nutsukpui suggested to the witness that the State had indicated that COCOBOD had incurred a financial loss as a result of purchasing the lithovit fertilizer, but Mr Amankwah disagreed, stating that no COCOBOD official had criticized the fertilizer.
According to the information obtained by the witness, the Board has decided to halt fertilizer distribution to farmers.
The proceeding will resume on June 1, 2020.