A witness of the state in the ongoing trial of former COCOBOD boss and two others has told the High Court that a report presented as evidence by the Attorney General has been altered.
The 5th prosecution witness, Dr Emmanuel Yaw Osei-Twum of the Chemistry Department of the University of Ghana made the revelation whilst being cross-examined by lawyer Nutifafa Nutsukpui, stand-in lead counsel for Seidu Agongo.
The report in question is the work of the Chemistry Department when it was contracted by EOCO to analyse Lithovit Fertilizer, a product of Agricult Ghana Limited.
The report as presented by the attorneys of the state to the court has additional columns created on it with information that is supposed to be part of the report of the Chemistry Department that the witness worked on.
But Dr. Emmanuel Yaw Osei-Twum was clear and emphatic that the contents of the report in its current form, as it is in evidence, is not a true reflection of their work.
The lawyer probed further, for the avoidance of doubt, if the witness was not a party to the supposed altered report where someone ostensibly wrote in hand using ink to add “credibility to the report”.
The witness was categorical in his response, “No we did not. We did not write those in ink, we did not put in those vertical lines. Our original report did not have those”.
Read excerpts of the cross-examination below:
Q. Now Sir, when did you obtain the MSDS, at what stage of your work?
A. We had started the work, we had determined the drive constituents of the sample and we had started doing the digestion, so it could be four days afterwards.
Q. Who did you obtain the MSDS from.
A. EOCO provided us with the MSDS.
Q. And sir, what particular type of Lithovit did you think you were working on?
A. I would not know, My Lord. We were asked to determine the composition.
Q. And so Sir, how did you know that the MSDS that you were handed by EOCO actually related to the sample you were working on.
A. The MSDS provided us with the constituents and our analysis showed us that the sample had the same constituents but at very reduced concentration
Q. Sir, in your report you had identified the various types of Lithovit, that is correct
A. That is correct
Q. And all of these different types have different constituents. that is true.
A. There are two groups The first group will contain about the same constituents. The second group one of them contains urea and the second was NPK, N stands for Nitrogen, P stands for Phosphorus and K stands for Potassium.
Q. Now Sir, you see you are not suggesting that the Lithovit Organic Fertilizers which is in the first group you identified that all those fertilizers have the same constituents in the same values, are you. A. No, I am not.
Q. So therefore those individual products do have their own MSDS, that is true.
A. I cannot tell at this point because EOCO just stated Lithovit.
Q. Sir you see, because you had the MSDS after you had written this report, someone used ink in an attempt to give your work credibility by writing the supposed values from the MSDS on the right side of the table you have drawn, that is correct.
A. My Lord, if somebody did it, we did not do it.
Q. Sir, can you see to the right side of Table 2 of page 6 of your report that someone had written in hand Safety Data Sheet at the top and supposed values from that Safety Data Sheet in ink.
A. Yes, I can see
Q. And according to you, you did not do this, the writings in ink
A. No we did not. We did not write those in ink, we did not put in those vertical lines. Our original report did not have those
Q. Sir you see, even though you did not test for Silicon Dioxide, you would note that curiously the person who did the alterations to your report indicated underneath the table the chemical symbol for Silicon Dioxide and provided a value against it, that is true.
A. My Lord, we did not do it.
Q. Please does that appear in the report that you are holding now.
A. It does appear in the report I am holding but as I said we don’t know anything about it and My Lord if the MSDS have been tendered as evidence you would have noticed that the numbers are correct. My Lord. the only mistake made by whoever wrote it swapped the values for CaCo3 and MgCo3
Q. Now Sir, when you say the values are right but you in fact never tested that sample for Silicon dioxide, are you being truthful.
A. My Lord, we are being very truthful.
Q. So in your experience, is it credible work to ascribe constituents and values that you never tested for in any sample, is that credible work.
A. My Lord, we did not test for Silicon or Silicon Dioxide. As our original report stands it is very credible.
Former CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni, businessman Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Company Limited, are facing 27 charges of willfully causing financial loss of ¢217 to the state, through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016.
They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges and are on self-recognition bail of ¢300,000 each.