An impression created by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Atakora-Obuobisa that suggested that second defence witness, Samuel Torbi was engaged in identity theft has been dispelled by a former District Cocoa Officer of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD.
The retired senior CHED officer who was subpoenaed as a defence witness told the court that Mr. Torbi was not just a cocoa farmer but a prominent one.
Mrs Atakora-Obuobisa had suggested that Mr. Torbi was impersonating one Rockson Torbi in court.
The cocoa farmer had told the court that the cocoa clerk in his area at Assin Fosu made a mistake and wrote his name as Sampson Torbi on his passbook, which is marked as Exhibit 112. He said when he informed the clerk about the mistake, the Sampson was cancelled and Samuel was written on the Passbook.
Mr. Samuel Torbi, who has over 33 acres of cocoa farm was testifying in the trial of former COCOBOD Chief Executive Dr Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo who have been accused of, among others, causing financial loss to the state.
But the prosecution, Mrs Atakora-Obuobisa, insisted that the cancelled name was not Sampson but Rockson.
“Mr. Torbi, you are not being truthful to this court because the R,O ,C K,S,N and that will mean Rockson and not Samuel,” Mrs Atakora-Obuobisa noted.
But the witness stressed, “my Lord I am telling the truth, I was brought up to tell the truth. The PC (purchasing clerk) who wrote my name is still alive and I can show where he is for the court to ask.”
Prosecution pushed further, “Sir, the name in the passbook is not yours because the name has been changed from Rockson to Samuel and the signature in your passbook is different from the one in your witness statement.”
The witness replied, “My Lord I am explaining to the court that what the prosecution is saying is not true. My lord with the cocoa farm I have in the Central Region if three farmers are to be selected from the Assin Fosu district, I will be first or second and so I cannot take someone’s passbook to be mine. I will further say that before you are given a passbook, the cocoa Clerk will send the names of farmers who need the passbook before the passbooks are issued to them. So if you the PC makes mistakes in your passbook whiles filling it, you will not be issued a different passbook and so those mistakes must be corrected in the book. My lord most farmers do not see the mistakes that are made but I am little educated so when I saw there was a mistake in my name I told the Clerk to change it. I initially asked the PC to give me a new passbook but he refused because there is a unique code which identifies the district so he will not be able to get me a new one till the next year. The code on the passbook is CR126364. There is no farmer that harvest more cocoa than me and if there is doubt, my passbook can be taken back there if there is anyone called Samuel Torbi apart from me or anyone who is called her so-called Rockson Torbi”.
“I finally put it to you that even Exhibit 112 (the passbook) is not even your own”, the Director of Public Prosecution insisted.
But Mr. Torbi emphasised, “my lord, that is not true, I have explained to the court that exhibit 112 belongs to me without a doubt”.
Meanwhile in court on June 27, 2022, the fifth defence witness, Mr. Samuel Tsatsu Adigler who has over 20 years experience in the cocoa industry testified to confirm the credibility of Mr. Torbi as a well known cocoa farmer.
Out of the countless number of cocoa farmers he dealt with at his various duty posts, one of the names that readily came to his mind was Samuel Torbi.
PROMINENT AND HARDWORKING
Can you tell this court some of the farmers you interacted with during your time at Assin Fosu, counsel for Dr. Stephen Opuni, Samuel Codjoe asked the witness.
He answered, “My Lord, there are a lot of farmers at Assin Fosu and I interacted with many of whom I can not mention their names but I can mention some prominent ones like Nana kwasi Ofori who is the Central regional chief farmer, Acquanus, Samuel Torbi, Gordon Oduro and just a few.”
Asked how he got to know Samuel Torbi, who is the second defence witness, he stated: “Samuel Torbi is a very prominent and hard working farmer whom I know way back in 2013 and was one time national best young farmer.”
The witness also told the court that Lithovit liquid fertiliser was one of the liquid fertilizers CHED distributed to farmers when he was in CHED’s employment.
He also told the High Court that the farmers he and other management members of COCOBOD interacted with heaped praises on Lithovit liquid fertilizer having witnessed its effectiveness.
“My Lord, I had the chance to visit some of the farms sprayed with Lithovit and in honest, almost all the cocoa farms had flashy leaves, produced a lot of flowers, cherelles and pods and the beneficiary farmers all were praising the lithovit for efficient results.
“And before I left Assin Fosu, our management team came around in April 2015 for farm visits and the results we saw were all worthy of praise.
Source: Daily Mail GH