Politics

No Witness For Agongo in $46m Fertilizer Deal

It has emerged that Seidu Agongo, the businessman who is currently on trial for allegedly conspiring with ex-Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni to cause financial loss to the state, did not present any witness to give evidence to the arbitration tribunal.

He was seeking to claim a total of $46.460 million from the Cocobod for his three companies.

The judgment of the Accra Arbitration Centre prepared by three eminent arbiters revealed that the claimant (Seidu Agongo) preferred to go into the case with only ‘documentary evidence’ and not oral testimony.

The panel of eminent arbiters held that Cocobod submitted documentary evidence and brought witnesses to give oral testimony to disprove Seidu Agongo’s claims that he was entitled to the huge amount as compensation for his three companies.

According to the tribunal’s final award document, the claimant, before the hearing, informed the panel that “they would rely exclusively on documentary evidence and accordingly would not file any witness statements or call any witnesses during the proceedings.”

“They, however, reserved their right to cross examine the witnesses of the Respondent,” the 48-page document prepared by three eminent arbiters said.

“The tribunal recognized the right of the claimants to conduct their case, as they thought fit and accordingly did not insist on calling any witness in the face of reservations of Counsel about the summoning of any witness even in cases where the tribunal intimated its interest in hearing particular witnesses,” the panel said.

The tribunal held that Cocobod was able to adduce ‘credible evidence,’ including newspaper publications “to establish the existence of well-publicized testing protocols for the procurement of particular agrochemical products and that these protocols were in the public domain and known to the claimants, as well as other entities dealing with the Respondent.”

According to the tribunal, “Seidu Agongo, on the other hand, did not provide any evidence in rebuttal.

“The tribunal holds, furthermore, that these protocols were based on scientific evidence and not on unfettered corporate discretion.”

Seidu Agongo’s companies that were seeking compensation included Agricult Ghana Limited, which was billed to supply Lithovit liquid fertilizer estimated at $26.5 million, Sarago Limited, which was contracted to supply Duapa Fertilizer worth $14 million and Alive Industries Limited, which had been contracted to supply Acati Power estimated at $5.960.

Per the claims filed by Mr. Agongo during the arbitration on behalf of his three companies, Cocobod had agreed that Agricult Limited should supply 1,000,000 litres of Lithovit Liquid Fertilizer, Sarago Limited should supply 400,000 bags of Duapa Fertilizer and Alive Industries Limited was supposed to supply 200,000 litres of Acati Power Insecticide.

The arbitration tribunal panel was chaired by eminent international arbitrator Nana Dr. S.K.B. Asante, with Mr. Agongo’s arbiter Kizito Beyuo and Justice Francis Emile Short, former CHRAJ boss as Cocobod’s representative, assisting.

The arbitration tribunal panel was chaired by eminent international arbitrator Nana Dr. S.K.B. Asante, with Mr. Agongo’s arbiter Kizito Beyuo and Justice Francis Emile Short, former CHRAJ boss as Cocobod’s representative, assisting.

By William Yaw Owusu|Daily Guide Network

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