The recent donation of 35 motorbikes to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) campaign team in the Eastern Region, at a price of Gh¢4,000 each by the Special Advisor to Agric Minister on Cocoa Affairs, ahead of the December general elections, has popped up at the criminal trial of former COCOBOD CEO, Dr. Stephen Opuni and businessman, Seidu Agongo.
Dr. Yaw Adu-Ampomah, the state's third prosecution witness in the case, has admitted donating the motorbikes to support the governing NPP's campaign in the Eastern Region ahead of the December 7 general elections, but denied being a card-bearing member of the party.
This came to light during his cross-examination by Nutifafa Nutsukpui, counsel for Mr Agongo, on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
Dr Adu-Ampomah, who has been testifying since March 2019 in the ongoing trial, has come under intense pressure during cross-examinations, as lawyers for Dr. Opuni and Mr Agongo, continuously punched holes into his testimonies against their clients.
For instance, Dr. Opuni's counsel, Mr Sam Codjoe, cited Dr. Adu Ampomah for perjury after the witness told the court during cross-examination in May 2019, that the procurement practice at COCOBOD for fertilizers, had always been through an open tender process.
He noted that COCOBOD, usually advertises specific products it requires in the newspapers for interested companies to put in bids.
But Mr Codjoe produced, at least, 18 contract documents sole-sourced at COCOBOD during Dr. Adu-Ampomah's tenure as Deputy Chief Executive, Agronomy and Quality Control.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah, who is currently the special advisor to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, was the Deputy Chief Executive of COCOBOD in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control from 2009, till his retirement in 2013.
He was, however, re-appointed after Nana Akufo-Addo, won the 2016 general elections.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah led the transitional team for COCOBOD that probed cocoa contracts awarded under Dr. Opuni's tenure as CEO.
At Wednesday's hearing, Dr. Adu-Ampomah, denied being a card-bearing member of the NPP.
He, however, admitted donating some 35 motorbikes to support the party's campaign in the Eastern Region.
He is quoted to have said the rationale behind his donation was to provide the party with the needed logistics to reach out to all communities in the region to spread the good works of the NPP over the past three years.
When Mr Nutifafa put it to him that his evidence before the court is coloured by his political persuasion, Dr. Adu Ampomah said: "No, my lord".
"My evidence is guided by my being a Ghanaian and, as part of my civic responsibility, if anything is going against Ghana, it is my right to stand against it".
He has been discharged by the court and the prosecution led by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, is expected to call a new witness.
Dr. Adu-Ampomah, is seen as the eyes, ears and voice of the Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the COCOBOD.
His shocking donation to the Eastern Regional NPP office in September this year, has left many asking about his source of funding, especially when he is on retirement.
Dr. Yaw Adu Ampomah, had retired from COCOBOD as Deputy Chief Executive Officer under the John Mahama administration, but got a two year contract, which later expired.
Strangely, however, he became a member of the Akufo-Addo transaction team in 2017, after he was reappointed to his previous office as Deputy Chief Executive by the NPP government after sacking some key civil servants at the management of COCOBOD.
Following media exposés, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, whose ministry now has oversight responsibility over COCOBOD, quickly created another portfolio for him, under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in October 2018, as the adviser to the sector minister on cocoa affairs.
He remained at COCOBOD and gets paid by COCOBOD.
Interestingly, other ex-staff, who had retired from the institution, but were sent back by the Akufo-Addo government, have since been forced out.
They included Dr. Franklin Amoah, Executive Director for the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG). One other retired officer who left after media exposés, died in Ghana, but was sent to the UK and buried there near his late wife.
Aside the motorbikes, Dr. Adu-Ampomah, also donated 75 megaphones to the Eastern Regional Executives of the NPP.
Speaking after the presentation at a short ceremony held in the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, he charged the NPP to engage in a door-to-door campaign as according to him, this year's election will be different.
Explaining the rationale behind the donation, he said most of the constituencies do not have the logistics to embark on their operations, so he considered it appropriate to provide motorbikes just so the campaign teams could embark on trips to all the communities to spread the good works of the NPP over the past three years.
He said, he was optimistic with the use of the motorbikes, they can reach a lot of people, rather than inviting them to converge at a designated place before they receive campaign messages.
The Regional Secretary of the NPP, Jeff Konadu, who received the items, commended Dr. Adu-Ampomah for the kind gesture and promised the motorbikes , would be used to pull the required votes for the party.
He disclosed that, the regional executives upon receiving the motorbikes, have disbursed them among 18 constituencies, particularly where the NPP, has no MP, to aid them in their campaign ahead of the elections.
He, therefore, appealed to individuals, especially those from the Region to emulate Dr. Adu-Ampomah and donate to support the party in its campaign for the December polls.