Home News GH₵25k deposited in Opuni’s Ecobank account by Agongo was Opuni’s own money...

GH₵25k deposited in Opuni’s Ecobank account by Agongo was Opuni’s own money – Witness

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General News of Friday, 2 February 2024

Source: classfmonline.com

Mr Reginald Aduakwa, a former banker with Ecobank, has told the court hearing the ₵217-million financial loss case against former Ghana Cocoa Board CEO Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo, that some ₵25,000 deposited in Dr Opuni’s Ecobank account by Mr Agongo on 3 October 2014, was the former COCOBOD CEO’s own money.

Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Prempeh Mercer, the investigator of the case, told the court, as the seventh prosecution witness in 2021, that the stories of Dr Opuni, who is the first accused person; and Mr Agongo, the second accused person, regarding the ₵25,000, did not match.

According to him, while Dr Opuni, in his statement to the police, “said he gave the money to A2 to be deposited into his account, A2, on the other hand, said he does not remember but what he did remember was that he paid GH₵25,000 into A1’s Ecobank account to cater for the needy children”.

The state, thus, argued that the money was meant to bribe Dr Opuni to clear the way for COCOBOD’s procurement of Lithovit Liquid Fertiliser, from Mr Agongo’s company, Agricult Ghana Limited – the third accused person in the case.

Testifying on the matter, however, Mr Aduakwa, who was Dr Opuni’s Relationship Manager at Ecobank, told the court, in his evidence-in-chief, that Mr Agongo’s deposit was on behalf of Dr Opuni.

According to him, Dr Opuni, “a high-network client”, would “typically bring money to the bank where he called and I meet him on the premises of the bank’s car park, pick up the cash, deposit in his account, following which I will inform him of the deposit”.

Regarding the GH₵25,000 deposited by Mr Agongo, however, Mr Aduakwa recalled: “Dr. Opuni had called typically alerting me that he would come to the bank to make deposit. He called subsequently in the course of the day, that he would not be able to come and make the deposit himself as he typically does”.

“He subsequently called again and said he’s unable to bring the money himself and, so, he will send someone to bring the money to me to deposit into his account. He had mentioned the name, but I don’t recall the name; only that I recall it was a northern name. So, he said he will give my number to the fellow to call me when he gets to the bank. So, I received a call from a gentleman saying that Dr. Opuni had sent him to deposit some money. I explained to him that I was busy at the moment, so, he had to wait for me to come down at a point to assist him. I delayed a bit and when I went downstairs and called the number, which had previously called me, the person explained to me that he had done the deposit and left because I delayed. I went to check on the account to confirm the deposit and went ahead to call the client, in this case Dr. Opuni, to advise that the deposit had been made by the person he sent but I wasn’t able to assist”, Mr Aduakwa explained.

Asked by Mr Samuel Cudjoe, lead counsel for Dr Opuni about what he made of the claim by the prosecution that the money was a bribe from Mr Agongo to Dr Opuni, the witness said: “I don’t think it is in my place to determine it as a bribe or not”, adding: “What l know is what I have narrated to the court, the circumstances surrounding how the money was deposited in the account”.

“And from the circumstances which you have narrated to this court, who is the owner of this GH₵25,000 which was deposited into the account of Dr. Opuni?”, pressed Mr Cudjoe, to which Mr Aduakwa responded: “I believe the money would be for Dr. Opuni, as the purpose for which the money is used for, was his credit card payment”.

Mr Aduakwa also told the court he never met Mr Agongo nor anybody from Agricult.

The witness also noted that it was not out of the ordinary for Mr Agongo to have done the deposit straightforwardly. “Indeed, there were various ways he could have done that transaction without my knowledge”, he added while under cross-examination by Mr Benson Nutsukpui, lead counsel for the second and third accused persons.

Additionally, he said he saw nothing wrong with the transaction.

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