Chief state attorney Evelyn Keelson asks retired Justice Honyenuga to reject Opuni’s excuse notice

Stephen Opuni
Stephen Opuni

The Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson ruffled feathers in court on Tuesday when she requested that former COCOBOD boss Dr Stephen Opuni who is recuperating from an eye surgeries should be trialed virtually.

Dr. Opuni who had four different surgeries on his left eye in September has been advised to rest his eye to ensure proper healing.

The former COCOBOD Chief Executive, Dr. Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo as well as Agricult Ghana Limited, have been facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the state, corruption by public officers and contravention of the Public Procurement Act in the purchase of Lithovit liquid fertiliser between 2014 and 2016.
They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

When the High Court reconvened on October 11, counsel for Dr Opuni, Mr Samuel Codjoe informed the court that his client was unable to make it to court because he has been excused for six weeks due to the ill health and has been advised not to get involve in any activity.

Counsel showed the court medical records as well as the excuse notice to that effect and prayed for adjournment, stressing that his client was not waiving his right under Article 19 (3).

But the Chief State Attorney was averse to the adjournment and therefore contested it
Evelyn Keelson, who has been at the forefront of the prosecution’s case having signed the charge sheet which formed the basis for the trial in 2018, suggested means the court can circumvent Article 19 (3) cleanly.
“My lord in the alternative, this court can sit virtually to accommodate the first accused…It is therefore our submission that this court, in the exercise of its discretion can proceed with the case without infringing on Article 19( 3) since the doctors opinion for the accused to stay for six weeks is not binding on this court,” Evelyn Keelson told the court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga who recently retired from the Supreme Court.
She had early on conceded: “My lord, I have seen a medical report indicating that the first accused has had surgery on his left eye and in that report the medical director has indicated that he needs six weeks to rest the eye for proper healing.”
Evelyn Keelson nonetheless, told Justice Honyenuga, “respectful my lord, this statement by the medical director is not binding on this honourable court. My lord, the medical director did not indicate the basis for the six weeks he has indicated in the repor.t”

She therefore prayed to the court to invite the medical director who gave the excuse notice to Dr. Opuni to give further and better particulars to his request.

Lawyer Samuel Codjoe however told Evelyn Keelson that her submissions were “not only factually inaccurate but seeks to infringe on the right of the first accused”
He pointed out paragraph 10 of the medical report to the. Chief State Attorney to counter her claim that the doctor didn’t give reasons for the excuse duty.

“My lord, the chief state attorney has not gotten any medical knowledge to speak the way she is doing.
“My lord we don’t have any problem with inviting the medical doctor because no one has monopoly over good health.
“My lord what is unfortunate is that the prosecution is saying the first accused who is sick and is not supposed to engage in any activity should sit in a virtual trial. So he should lie down or what? My lord, this is unacceptable even in military regimes,” he asserted.

Lawyer Codjoe further remarked, “My lord, the prosecution is saying that despite the fact that the first accused is ill, the first accused should be put to trial. This will take us back to the dark days when we did not have a constitution.”

Meanwhile, retired Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga who is sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge ordered the medical director to appear before him in the next adjourned date “in order to clear any doubts about the medical report before this court”.

The retired judge has therefore directed the Registrar of the Court to ensure that the doctor is served with the order for him to tell the court about the medical records of Dr. Opuni.
Sitting was adjourned to Monday 17th October, 2022.

Source: Daily Mail GH

Email Daily Mail GH: or
Whatsapp: +233(0)509928122


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here