Crime & Punishment Fri, 28 Apr 2006

Court dismisses Tsikata's appeal

Accra, April 28, GNA - The Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed a motion filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, a Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), against a ruling by the Fast Track High Court (FTC) trying him.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice E.K. Piesare, with Mr Justice K. Tweneboa-Kodua and Mr Justice Anin Yeboah as panel members, ruled that the lower court was right when it stated that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) had immunity.

The Court said under the Constitutional system, the IFC's immunity could not be waived.

It stated that the IFC, its Directors, Managers, Officers, Employees and assets were immune from judicial processes, and, therefore, sated further that the Country Director of IFC could not be compelled to appear before the FTC to give evidence.

Tsikata, the Appellant/Applicant, filed the motion for a stay of proceedings in the FTC, in respect of the rulings of the trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, an Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, on February 6, 2006. Her rulings concerned both the order she had made for the Country Director of the International Finance Corporation, to appear in the FTC case to testify in the proceedings.

Tsikata appeared before the FTC, for wilfully causing financial loss to the State, and he had been admitted to a self-recognizance bail. The Court of Appeal's ruling means that Tsikata would go back to the Fast Track Court to continue with proceedings.

Tsikata filed the appeal sometime in February 2006, when both the Prosecution and the Defence Team were expected to deliver their addresses to close their cases.

In an affidavit supporting the motion, Counsel for the Appellant / Applicant, Prof. E.V.O. Dankwa had earlier argued that the FTC did make the order, directed to the Country Director of the International Finance Corporation to appear to testify and produce relevant documents.

Counsel argued further that on the due date, Counsel appeared on behalf of the IFC to claim that the Corporation and its officials were immune from legal process in these courts, and applied for an order directed to the Country Director to be set aside.

Prof Dankwa stated that the Attorney-General, Mr Ayikoi Otoo also the Minister of Justice, who is currently conducting the prosecution against him (Prof. Dankwa), associated himself with the submissions made by Counsel on behalf of the IFC.
Source: GNA
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