It has been revealed that whilst the DPP Mrs Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa was busily doubting the credibility of a witness as a cocoa farmer, CRIG was behind the scenes, actively working with the witness in his cocoa farm.
Whilst the witness, Mr. Samuel Torbi was still testifying for Dr Stephen Opuni at the High Court in Accra, officials of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), the scientific division of COCOBOD, called him to seek permission to use his cocoa farm for experiment.
The witness made the disclosure on Thursday, June 2 when the court sat on the over four-year old trial of former COCOBOD Chief Executive Dr Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo.
Mr. Samuel Torbi, who is the chairman of Cocoa Cooperative in Assin Fosu in the Central Region with over 33 acres of cocoa farm, has been testifying about the efficacy of the Lithovit liquid fertilizer, a product he called “messiah”, which application he said helped him to double his cocoa beans. He also showed evidence of how his production declined during seasons that he applied other fertilizers.
Mr. Samuel Torbi told the court, presided over by Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, that he received a call from a COCOBOD official last week that they need 8 acres of his land for field testing and trial.
“My Lord it was litovit that gave me that high cocoa yield. My lord because of my truthfulness, I came to this court to give my evidence. On the second time that I was supposed to come, I felt sick and was admitted at Ridge hospital. While I was there, the district officer Mr. Afram called me to release 8 acres of my land for field test and trial. I was discharged on Friday and when I got to Assin fosu on Saturday, I was called by the district officer on Sunday that the CRIG officers will be coming on Monday but I told him I wasn’t feeling well but I later obliged. My worker went with them and I released 8 acres for the test.
“As a result of the truth I speak and my truthfulness, that is why the trial took place in my farm. This is because COCOBOD believes that I will never lie. My lord on Tuesday, I received a call again from Mr Afram that some auditors are coming so they needed me. I wasn’t feeling well but I hired a taxi and went. When I got there the auditors said they have seen what they wanted to see.
“My lord, the manufacturer of Lithovit is not my brother or friend for me to come to court and lie in his favour.”
Mr. Torbi also rejected the position of the prosecution, Mrs. Atakora-Obuobisa, “which shows that your highest yield you got was not attributed to Lithovit.”
The award-winning witness stressed, “my Lord it was Lithovit. I am explaining that we farmers do not keep our records well, and if anything at all, our information can be gotten from the CHED office. So I applied Lithovit liquid fertiliser for the whole of 2015 and 2016, so if you go to COCOBOD, they can tell you the number of times I used Lithovit. I will always give glory where glory is due.”
The witness was in 2013 recognized nationwide as the Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer.
The former COCOBOD Chief Executive, Dr. Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo as well as Agricult Ghana Limited, are facing over 25 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the state, corruption by public officers and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
They have all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The case continues on Monday June 6, 2022.