A former Executive Director of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni, has filed a new application at the High Court seeking the removal of Justice Clemence Honyenuga as the trial judge in the case involving him and Agricult Ghana Limited CEO, Seidu Agongo, where they are being accused of causing the state to lose over GHS 217 million in a cocoa fertilizer transaction.
In the application, Dr. Opuni said the judge has shown open hostility towards him and is clearly biased against him.
He argued that if the judge is not removed, justice may not be served.
This is the second attempt Dr. Opuni is making to have justice Honyenuga removed from presiding over his case.
The first attempt was in June 2021.
That application ended up at the Supreme Court after the ordinary bench ruled to remove the judge.
The Attorney General, Godfred Dame, filed for a review following a majority decision upholding an argument of bias against the trial judge, who is also a Supreme Court Justice, Clemence Honyenuga
The review panel of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, overturned the ruling of the court’s ordinary bench removing Justice Clemence Honynuga as a trial judge.
By a 4-3 majority decision, the panel said the earlier decision to remove the presiding judge and to quash his decisions has been overturned.
But in the fresh application to get Justice Clemence Honyenuga removed, Dr. Opuni, through his lawyers said, “the conduct of His Lordship Justice Clemence Honyenugah since I opened my defense is one of open hostility towards me, his acts and conduct is such that justice cannot be said to be seen to be done.”
“Contrary to the court’s own practice on adjournments during the hearing of the Prosecution’s case up to the dismissal of my submission of no case, which practice was that his Lordship would inquire from the lawyers of the parties and agree on suitable dates, the trial judge has now refused to follow this practice and has since I opened my defense, unilaterally imposed hearing dates and has made it very clear that he would go ahead to hear the case on those dates, irrespective of whether it was suitable to my lawyers or not,” he stated.
He further stated in the application that, “if the learned trial judge does not recuse himself from hearing this matter, I would be denied a fair trial since I would be prevented from conducting the case in a way which I am entitled to by making references in this instance to specific portions of the ruling.”