Supreme Court dismisses Opuni’s ‘no case’ suit
The Supreme Court has dismissed a motion by Stephen Kwabena Opuni in which he was invoking the original jurisdiction of the court, relative to the dismissal of his submission of no case by the High Court (Criminal Division).
The Supreme Court has dismissed a motion by Stephen Kwabena Opuni, in which he was invoking the original jurisdiction of the Court, relative to the dismissal of his submission of no case by the High Court (Criminal Division).
In its May 7, 2021 ruling, the High Court presided over Justice Clemence Honyenuga dismissed a submission of no case filed by the two accused persons in the ongoing GH¢271.3 million financial loss case. According to the court, the prosecution established a prima facie case in relation to 24 charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretence, contravention of procurement laws, corruption of a public officer, and manufacturing fertiliser without registration.
Subsequent to that, Dr. Opuni invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, seeking among others, a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of articles 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, the High Court acted contrary to these provisions of the Constitution in its ruling dismissing the submission of no case.
He also wanted the Court to grant an order expunging all final finding of facts against the accused persons in the said ruling of the High Court which presumed accused persons guilty of all charges for being inconsistent and in contravention of articles 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
Furthermore, a perpetual injunction restraining the High Court from continuing with the hearing of the suit, until all the final findings of facts made against accused persons which presumed them guilty are expunged.
However when the Court sat today, May 18, 2022, the seven-member panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, with Justices Nii Ashie Kotey, Gabriel Pwamang, Gertrude Torkornoo, Mariama Owusu, Henrietta Mensa-Bosu and Lovelace Johnson as members, dismissed the writ by a majority decision of 6-1.
“By a majority decision of 6-1, Pwamang JSC dissenting, the plaintiff’s writ, invoking the original jurisdiction of this Court fails, and is accordingly dismissed as per the reasons contained in the majority decision of this Court,” the presiding judge, Justice Jones Dotse announced.
Dr Opuni and Agongo, the CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, are on trial for allegedly engaging in illegalities in a series of fertiliser transactions which the Attorney-General (A-G) says caused a financial loss of GH¢271.3 million to the state.
They were dragged to court by the A-G in March 2018 on 27 charges, including willfully causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretense, contravention of procurement laws, corruption of a public officer, and money laundering.
Submission of no case
On May 7, 2021, in support of its case, the prosecution called seven witnesses and presented a series of documents.
After the prosecution rested, the accused persons decided to exercise their rights by filing a submission of no case under Section 173 of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30).
Section 173 of Act 30 allows a trial court to acquit an accused person if the court concludes that the prosecution had failed to make a case sufficient enough for the accused person to open his defence.
Lawyers for the accused persons had argued that the prosecution failed to make any prima facie case against their clients to warrant them to open their defence.
They, therefore, urged the court to acquit and discharge them.