Attorneys in Tsikata's case present addresses on June 1

Wed, 24 May 2006 Source: GNA

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Accra, May 24, GNA - An Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) on Wednesday adjourned to June 1, the case in which Tsastu Tsikata, a Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is accused of wilfully causing financial loss of about 2.3 billion cedis to the State.

The trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, an Appeal Court Judge sitting as a High Court Judge, ordered the Prosecution and the Defence Team to hold themselves in readiness, to read their addresses on the adjourned date.

The Attorneys, presenting their oral addresses, would mean that their respective cases would be closed, thereby awaiting judgement. Mrs Justice Abban stated; "we shall strictly go by the rules, when we come next time", adding that the court had taken judicial notice of the power outage that occurred last week.

The case was today adjourned at the instance of the Defence Team, led by Prof. E.V.O. Dankwa.

As a practice, the Defence has to address the court first, for the Prosecution to reply, after both Attorneys had formally identified themselves to the court.

However, Prof. Dankwa wanted the court to effect some corrections in the proceedings and, therefore, could not read his address. Counsel insisted that that there were some corrections to be made, saying "please, My Lord, there is the need to complete it". The Presiding Judge said "you were here two weeks ago, and I gave you the whole of last week to do so".

She contended that the greater portion of the corrections had been done, and that there was no need to go back into year 2002 proceedings.

Mrs Justice Abban asked. "Do we use the whole time talking on this? Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice (leading), together with Mr Augustines Obour, Ms Gyemfua Sarpong and Ms Owusu Adansi Ofori, all from the Attorney General's Department, represented the Republic.

Tsikata is charged with three counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the State, through a loan he, on behalf of the GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms.

The accused is also charged with misapplying public property. The FTC had admitted him to a self-recognisance bail, after he had denied the offence.

The Court of Appeal on April 28 gave ruling in the case in which the Former Chief Executive of GNPC filed a motion for a stay of the proceeding in the Fast Track High Court (FTC). The proceedings were in respect of the rulings of Mrs Justice Abban on February 6, 2006.

Her rulings concerned both the order she had made for the Country Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to appear in the FTC to testify in the proceedings, and the further application of Counsel for the applicant. In the Appeal Court's ruling, Tsikata was asked to go to the lower court to continue with proceedings.

Source: GNA
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