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General News Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Court to rule on Tsatsu's case

Accra, July 31, GNA - The Supreme Court would on October 16, 2008 rule on a motion filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction to quash the judgment of Mrs. Justice Henrietta Abban of June 18, 2008.

The Court would also rule on whether to arrest the appeal pending before it on whether the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, is amenable to the jurisdiction of the court of Ghana to testify in the case.

Tsikata, former boss of GNPC, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for wilfully causing financial loss to the State and misapplying public property.

Justice Sophia Akuffo, who heads the five-member panel, which includes Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Julius Ansah, Justice Comfort Owusu and Justice Baffoe Bonney, asked the prosecution and the applicant to go straight to the point and highlight salient areas in their affidavits.

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Tsikata in his submission said the conduct of the Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban to refuse to adjourn the matter when she was aware that his counsel was out of the country was a breach of his fundamental human rights. He said what took place on June 18 was not an invitation by the trial judge to the accused to represent himself. Mr. Tsikata said the A-G's argument that his earlier motion at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court was quashed and that the trial judge could not wait for him was without merit. He said the earlier matter was a different case and not relevant to the case before the court.

Mr. Joe Ghartey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in his submission, rejected the claims by Mr. Tsikata that the trial judge had stayed proceedings.

He said Mrs Justice Abban rescinded her decision on the matter because the accused, for the same reasons sent the motion to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court but it was quashed. "When a higher court has ruled on the matter the lower court cannot exercise its jurisdiction over the same matter," he argued. He said the claim by the accused that he was not given a fair trial cannot be supported, adding that, his right to fair trail had always been respected throughout the trial. Mr. Tsikata, former boss of GNPC, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for wilfully causing financial loss to the State and misapplying public property.

He was found guilty on three counts of causing financial loss to the State and one count of misapplying public property and jailed five years on each count. The sentences will run concurrently. Tsikata was charged with three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 (2.3 billion old Ghana cedis) to the State through a loan he, on behalf of GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private company, and another count of misapplying public property. He is said to have intentionally misapplied GH¢ 2,000 (20 million cedis) to acquire shares in Valley Farms. Valley Farm contracted the loan from Caisse Centrale, now Agence Fran=E7aise de D=E9veloppement (ADF), but defaulted in the payment, compelling GNPC as the guarantors, to pay the loan in 1996.

Source: GNA
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