Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah

Chief Justice, Kwasi Aning Yeboah, has declined a request by former Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) CEO, Dr Stephen Opuni, to transfer his case to a different judge.

The case is currently being heard by Supreme Court Judge, Clemence Honyenuga, who is sitting as an additional High Court judge.

The former COCOBOD boss has on two occasions pushed for Justice Honyenuga to recuse himself.

Both attempts have failed, and Dr Opuni ordered to open his defence on June 18, 2021.

However, Justice Honyenuga announced on Friday that he had received a copy of the petition sent to the Chief Justice.

Although he did not indicate the petition’s content or what it seeks to achieve, he announced that Mr Opuni has also filed another application at the Supreme Court seeking its intervention.

Reacting to the issue, the Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, said the state is not aware of the petition.

Justice Honyenuga then adjourned the case, adding that he awaits what decision the Chief Justice will take on the petition.

Earlier, JoyNews sources had indicated that Dr Opuni is seeking to have Justice Honyenuga removed from the case over allegations of bias.

Dr Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo have been on trial since 2017 over an alleged $217 million loss caused to the state in the purchase of fertilizers.

But when the case was called on Thursday, July 1, 2021, Justice Honyenuga indicated he has received a copy of the Chief Justice’s response to Dr. Opuni’s petition.

According to him, portions of the response states, “your petition in respect of the above subject matter has been considered after serious thought. I have noticed from the petition that the learned judge has not made any prejudicial statements to infer that there is real likelihood of bias against you as an accused person; in the case in which you are yet to open your defence.

“In view of the fact that no serious allegation of likelihood of bias has been established, I will decline the invitation to transfer the case to another judge. This does not preclude you, in the exercise of your constitutional rights to report to the juridical process for the transfer you are respectfully requesting for.”

Justice Honyenuga after reading the letter indicated that he had every right to order Dr Opuni to now open his defence.

He, however, adjourned the matter because another application filed by Dr Opuni at the Supreme Court remains pending.

“I would in the circumstances adjourn this case to abide by the judgment of the Supreme Court. Consequently, this case stands adjourned to July 15, 2021,” he stated.