A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court has upheld a review application by the Attorney General, challenging an earlier ruling to disallow Justice Honyenuga from hearing the trial involving former COCOBOD CEO, Dr Stephen Opuni.

In a ruling delivered by Justice Jones Dotse on Tuesday, the Court said the allegations of bias against Justice Honyenuga were unfounded. Therefore, the trial can proceed unabated.

The four-three (4:3) majority decision, therefore, directed Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as an additional High Court judge, to continue with the trial.

The enhanced panel comprised Justices Jones Dotse as President, Agnes Dodzi, Lovelace Johnson, Amadu Tanko, Gabriel Pwamang, Professor Nii Ashie Kotey and Gertrude Tokonoo.

Justices Ashie Kotey and Gertrude Tokornoo were the two judges added to the five-member ordinary panel by the Chief Justice for the hearing of the review application.

The ordinary panel that prohibited Justice Honyenuga from hearing the trial consisted of Justices Jones Dotse, Gabriel Pwamang, Agnes Dodzie, Tanko Amadu and Avril Lovelace-Johnson.

Justices Gabriel Pwamang, Agnes Dodzie and Tanko Amadu were in favour of the removal of Justice Honyenuga while Justices Jones Dotse and Avril Lovelace-Johnson dissented in their 28 July ruling.

The Attorney General earlier filed a review application seeking a review of the decision to prohibit Justice Honyenuga from further hearing the case of Dr Opuni and businessman, Mr Seidu Agongo and his Agricult Ghana Limited.

Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame argued that the decision of the ordinary Bench contained multiple fundamental flaws which occasioned a substantial miscarriage of justice.

He said the ruling would occasion irreparable damage to the Republic in the substantive trial if the errors committed by the ordinary Bench were not corrected.

Mr Dame further argued that if there was an error that was occasioned by the exclusion of some exhibits by the trial judge, such an error did not warrant the invocation of the supervising role of the Supreme Court.

Samuel Codjoe, counsel for Dr Opuni, opposed the application, arguing that it did not meet the threshold for invoking the review jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

He further argued that the AG was rehashing its old argument, adding that the court was right in prohibiting the trial judge and prayed it to uphold the majority decision.

The Court, earlier in a majority decision, upheld the motion for Justice Honyenuga to discontinue hearing the case involving Dr Opuni and two others at the High Court.

The five-member panel of the court in a three-two majority ruled that Justice Honyenuga was prohibited from continuing with the trial.

The panel also granted the request for a portion of the ruling on a submission of no case to be quashed.

Dr Opuni and two others have pleaded not guilty to charges, including causing financial loss to the State in lithovit fertiliser issues.

On July 13, 2021, Dr Opuni filed a motion at the Supreme Court for certiorari to quash part of the decision of the High Court to dismiss his submission of no case.

He prayed the Apex to prohibit the judge from going on to hear the trial based on unfair comments made by Justice Honyenuga.

The Court said the reasons would be made available at the registry of the Court on Friday, July 30, 2021.

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by public officers and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

Reacting to the ruling, Attorney General, Godfred Dame, said the ruling is in order, and that the concerns from lawyers of Dr Opuni were rather mischievous.

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