The Supreme Court has removed Justice Clemence Honyenuga from the Opuni case as a trial judge.
By this decision, the Chief Justice would have to assign a new judge to the 4-year-old case for the legal process to continue.
The Court has differed its reasons for the ruling to Friday, July 30, 2021.
Clemence Honyenuga, a justice of the Supreme Court, was sitting as an additional High Court Judge in the matter of the Republic against the former COCOBOD CEO, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.
Lawyers for Mr. Opuni had earlier argued that they wanted Justice Honyenuga to recuse himself from the case because he prejudged and determined the guilt of Dr. Opuni even before the accused person mounted the box.
Opuni’s lawyers had argued that Justice Honyenuga had voiced his eagerness to dispense off the case, so he could go back to his core duties at the Supreme Court. This according to the lawyers, had been manifested in all the judge’s rulings against Mr. Opuni in the ongoing case.
But Justice Honyenuga dismissed their motion, saying, “It is my candid opinion that the application was brought in bad faith. Accordingly, the motion is hereby dismissed”.
That was the third failed attempt by Opuni’s lawyers to get the judge to recuse himself.
Unsatisfied with the ruling, the lawyers for Mr. Opuni petitioned Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and took the matter to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s latest ruling was a 3-2 majority decision presided over by Justice Jones Dotse.
The Presiding Judge, together with Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson, dissented, while Justices Gabriel Pwamang, Agnes Dordzie, and Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu held for Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.
The former COCOBOD CEO and Agricult Ghana Limited CEO, Seidu Agongo, are standing trial together with Agricult Ghana Limited for allegedly causing the state to lose over GHS 217 million in a cocoa fertilizer transaction.
Dr. Opuni and Mr. Agongo are facing 27 charges including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officers, and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges, and are on a ¢300,000 self-recognizance bail, each.
Agongo is alleged to have used fraudulent means to sell substandard fertiliser to the COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers, while Dr. Opuni is accused of facilitating the act by allowing Agongo’s products not to be tested and certified as required by law.
Ignore twisted interpretation of ‘do or die’ comment – Ashanti chief to Mahama
The Krontihene of Ejura Sekyedumase, Nana Agyapa II, has expressed surprise about the deliberate twisting of an idiom used by former President John Dramani Mahama to demonstrate the commitment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to plug any loopholes that contributed to the party’s inability to win the 2020 general elections.
According to the NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate, the party considers the 2024 election very critical and will be a ‘Do or Die’ affair, urging party operatives to remember that they can only win the election at the level of the polling stations.
In his remarks to welcome the former President and his entourage to the palace of the Frantehene ahead of his tour of the Ashanti Region, the Krontihene expressed his misgivings over the deliberate attempt to twist what Mr. Mahama said.
“These days even when you speak well some misconstrue it. It is unfortunate because the former President is only rallying his supporters that at the next elections the party would be vigilant and not be caught unawares, and that all persons given responsibility should focus and execute their task flawlessly to get their expected results.”
“There is nothing wrong with what he said. But others have deliberately misconstrued his statement. But don’t lose hope, I know that good times are ahead. I am very happy that you have seen that it is not the court you would go to seek redress but that you and your party members will be vigilant and put in the right measures so that your victory is not stolen” he stressed.
Speaking later at a gathering where the leadership of the NDC interacted with victims of a November 21, 2020 accident that involved members of the party from Frante, Frantehene Nana Owusu Sekyere Bobo III commended the former President for the developments he brought to the community during his Presidency.
He recalled that it was President Mahama’s NDC administration that connected 51 communities in the Constituency to the national grid. He also acknowledged Mr. Mahama for coming to the aid of the people and responding to a demand for a school block, among many others.
Nana Frantehene was optimistic that his community can always rely on the NDC if given another chance because of what the community previously benefitted under the party’s administration. He also requested for help to upgrade their clinic to be able to cater for the health need of the people.
Rev Owusu Bempah reportedly rushed to hospital
The Founder and Leader of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah, has been rushed to the Police Hospital in Accra, newsafrica24.com gathers.
The popular man of God was sent to hospital in handcuffs after he fell sick while in police custody.
Rev Owusu Bempah was remanded into police custody on Monday, September 13 after he was denied bail by an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Her Honour Afia Owusuaa Appiah.
He pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against him by the police.
The controversial pastor was picked up on Sunday from his church premises amid stiff resistance from some of the members.
Three of his followers were arrested alongside him and they were also arraigned before court on Monday. Two are on the run.
Their case will be re-called on Monday, September 20.
Democracy has been beneficial for Ghana and Africa – Akufo-Addo
“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”
These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference, held in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, on Monday, 13th September 2021.
Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo data and history have proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, that all aspects of national life have witnessed significant improvements under democratic dispensations, in comparison to periods of military rule.
According to the President, “The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.
He added that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially, to six hundred and five dollars ($605) in 1995, declined marginally to five hundred and forty-seven dollars ($547) in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to one thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars ($1,550).
In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that GDP per capita was three hundred and ninety-eight dollars ($398) in 1990, declined to two hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($258) in 2000, and it is now two thousand, two hundred and twenty-three dollars ($2,223).
Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.
“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54%, and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
According to the President, the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education ecosystem, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.
Additionally, he indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and is enjoying the confidence of the increasing numbers of its users, with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019, stressing that “the goal in sight is to attain Universal Health Coverage for all”.
With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Referendum, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people showed through that process their commitment to democratic governance under a Constitution that guarantees the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civic liberties.
“The decision has ushered our nation into the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional democratic governance in her history, which has experienced, under the 4th Republic, three (3) peaceful transfers of power through the ballot box on three (3) separate occasions. The anti-democrats, who are always looking for occasions to sneer at democratic governance, should also bear the following data in mind,” he said.
Bar Conferences, the President explained, became concerned with constitutional rule, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and other matters that were of paramount interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a governance structure that was insulated from authoritarian rule, whether of the one-party Union Government or military variety.
“The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people,” he added.
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