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Opuni Trial: Picking samples for laboratory testing requires some protocols-witness 

Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.

Mrs Genevieve Ofosuhemaa Baah Mantey, Head of Material Science Department of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), has agreed that certain protocols must be followed in selecting samples for laboratory testing. 

According to her, following those protocols was essential because they had a significant impact on the testing’s result. 

Mrs. Mantey, a witness for Mr. Seidu Agongo, who had been subpoenaed, was being questioned during cross-examination in the trial of Dr Stephen Opuni, the former chief executive officer of COCOBOD. 

Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by a public officer in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.  

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognisance bail each.  

Mrs. Mantey confirmed that the GSA’s final assessment of the lithovit testing revealed the sample in question to be fertiliser. 

In further cross-examination led by Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, the witness confirmed that she had never worked at the Forensic Science Department of GSA.  

She responded in the affirmative when asked if, during her time as the acting head of the Material Science Department, a liquid material known as lithovit was submitted for testing in July 2017. 

She stated that the material was sent to an analyst for evaluation when it was submitted for testing, and Madam Gyamfi was the Laboratory Manager at the time.  

The witness disagreed that the report simply addressed the question of whether the sample was fertiliser—one of the parameters for the lithovit fertiliser test. 

The prosecution disagreed with Mrs Mantey’s assertion that the tests proved the samples to be fertiliser in composition, physical properties, and toxicological information.  

The witness rejected the prosecution’s contention that the report contained no toxicology-related information. 

She said the second page of the report indicated an attachment referring to toxicology information. 

Mrs Keelson suggested to the witness that there were no attachments, but the witness disagreed, saying that per their procedure, they do not indicate the total number of pages, especially when the testing was subcontracted.  

“Subcontracted reports are usually reports from other labs, which are attached to the original reports,” she said. 

Mrs Mantey stated that while GSA activities were based on standards, they lacked standards for some of the parameters specified in their requests to test the sample. 
She further explained that often the Authority advised its clients of their rights and obligations before sample admission, and she assumed that the details were conveyed to the EOCO officials. 

The witness agreed that one of the recommendations from the GSA on the testing of lithovit indicated that the sample was fertilizer.

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