Prosecution witness: Farmers were unhappy about stoppage of lithovit supply

A defence witness in the ongoing trial of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni case yesterday told the Accra High Court (Criminal Division One) farmers were unhappy when the Ghana COCOBOD stopped distribution of lithovit liquid fertiliser in 2017.

Mr Samuel Tsatsu Adigreh said the aggrieved farmers registered their unhappiness in radio programmes and threatened to demonstrate against the decision to stop supply of the product.

He said farmers in Assin Fosu in the Western Region where he worked and those in Brong Ahafo Region requested for more supplies because of the fertiliser’s efficacy.

Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited, a fertiliser manufacturing company are being prosecuted for alleged procurement breaches in the purchase of lithovit liquid fertiliser which is the subject of controversy in the trial. 

Below was what transpired during cross examination by Mr Nutifafa Nutsukpui, the counsel for Mr Agongo and Agricult Limited who are second and third accused. 

Counsel: Please confirm to the court that ever since lithovit liquid fertiliser was introduced to your district, you had no complaints whatsoever regarding lithovit liquid fertiliser. 

Witness: During my short stay after the introduction of lithovit at Assin fosu, there were no complaints and when I went to Adabokrom in the Western North Region where lithovit was not distributed, I had farmers from Brong Ahafo who used lithovit in that region making request that we should supply lithovit to the region because of its efficiency. None of such farmers ever reported anything negative about lithovit fertiliser to me.

 Counsel: In your role as district cocoa officer, did you also interact with other district cocoa officers concerning matters of cocoa and the inputs?

Witness: Yes my lord, we did discuss this issue among ourselves, especially when most of us heard about this case on air. As I speak now, there are a lot of workers if not for the intimidation at the office would have come out to give testimony about lithovit.

Counsel: Sir, did you receive any complaints from the other district officers in respect of lithovit liquid fertiliser?

Witness : No complaint whatsoever came from any district officer I know.

 Counsel:  Now for the records, you as district cocoa officer never received any cocoa farmer complaints and reported no complaints about lithovit? 

Witness: Yes, my lord.

Counsel: And again for the records, you are not aware that any other district officer made any adverse reports on lithovit to your head. 

Witness: No, my lord

Counsel: Now you see, while the prosecution has not called any farmer to come and testify about the complaints on lithovit, it called Dr Yaw Adu Ampomah who told this court that the litovit liquid fertiliser was so ineffective that they drunk it on their farms. What will you say to that statement? 

Witness: My Lord, there is no farmer who can come to this court to say that. Every farmer knows that every agrochemical is harmful to human health. Anybody who say so is an insult to our cherished farmers. More so as an indictment to Cocoa Health Extension Division(CHED) as a unit who educate and train farmers on good agronomical practices. I must add that some of our farmers may look financially poor but are sound minded. In my 32 years of being a front line staff and working with farmers, I know farmers behaviour very well and there is no way any of them will ever venture to drink any agrochemical.

Therefore, whoever said this had fabricated the story and that is why no farmer has been brought to court to testify.


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