Peter Okyere Boateng, the sixth Defence Witness, in the trial of Dr Stephen Opuni and two others, says Seidu Agongo and his Company, had no influence on the 2015 Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) report.
The witness, said he did an independent work without any external influence from any other person(s).
The report contained the views and perception of some farmers on fertilizer and other inputs, including liquid fertilizers.
Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo, a Businessman are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by a public officer in contravention of the Public Procurement Act (PPA).
They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail, each.
Okyere Boateng responding in a cross examination led by Nutifafa Nutsukpui, Counsel for Agongo, said, “l worked under a director, who was Dr Frank Baah and therefore, l took no instruction or advise from any other person.”
He said, he managed the department independently and whatever work he did was done solely by him and without any external influence.
The defence witness said of course, he had the approval from his director and the work he had done, this was the first time he had met the accused person.
He said there was nothing unusual about the report, he complied, and it was not the first time he had done something of that nature.
“l remembered at the Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Department of COCOBOD, l did an evaluation of the impact of the CODAPEC/HITECH on Cocoa production in Ghana,” he added.
Asked, whether the witness would consider the Report as an Official COCOBOD report, he agreed, saying it was presented to the COCOBOD Authorities and he as an employee of the Board and it was kept in their custody.
The witness said apart from using the Cocoa Crop forecasting data to determine the syndicated loan to procure cocoa beans, it was also used for planning purposes and for the purchase of input like the fertilizers.
Asked whether he knew how COCOBOD pays back the loan, the witness said he did not know the actual procedures used in the payment processes.
Nutsukpui asked, was it the Board which actually paid back the loan contracted from the international Banks? But the witness said as far as he knew and what he heard, while at the Research Department, the “Board pays for the Loan itself.”
He said in his 28-year experience at the Board, he had never heard on any occasion where a budget presented to Parliament made mention of the fact that the Government would pay for the loan contracted from international banks.
The witness, said as far as he knew the processes, the Board financed its own operations.