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09.12.2005 General News

Registrar ordered to subpoena Country Director of IFC

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Accra, Dec. 9, GNA - An Accra Fast Track Court trying Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on Friday, ordered the Registrar to issue a subpoena to the Country Director of the International Finance Company (IFC) to testify in the case.

The witness is expected to give evidence in respect of documents connected with the Valley Farms Project that was promoted by the African Project Development Facility, from 1987 to 1990.

The order followed Tsatsu's indication that he intended calling two witnesses, after the Prosecution had informed the Court that it had completed its cross-examination.

Tsatsu, who is being tried for allegedly causing the loss of about 2.3 billion cedis to the State, told the Court that apart from the IFC Country Director, he would call one more witness from the United Kingdom.

He faces an additional charge of misapplication of public funds.

Tsatsu is accused of using GNPC as a guarantor in 1991 of a loan facility of 2.3 billion cedis contracted from Caise Centrale, now Agence Francaise de Development, on behalf of Valley Farms Limited, a private cocoa-producing company.

In 1996, when Valley Farms defaulted in paying back the loan, GNPC being the guarantor, was compelled to refund it, thus causing a financial loss to the State.

On the charge of misapplication of public funds, Tsatsu allegedly ordered the transfer of an amount of 20 million cedis, being funds from GNPC's coffers, to be invested in Valley Farms. He had denied both charges, and the court had admitted him to a 700-million-cedi bail in his own cognisance.

Answering questions under cross-examination from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Tsatsu had earlier disagreed with a suggestion by the DPP that he fumbled with the fortunes of GNPC. He disagreed with a further suggestion that the investment of 20 million cedis equity in Valley Farms was at his instance. At this juncture, the DPP, with the permission of the Court, asked Tsatsu to read a letter he wrote to Mr Jude Arthur, then Managing Director of Merchant Bank in June 1990, ordering him to transfer 20 million cedis as investment in Valley Farms.

Tsatsu told the Court that even though he ordered Mr Arthur to transfer the money from Investment Holdings Limited for placement in Valley Farms; he did not make any follow-up to know whether his instructions were carried out.

The matter has been adjourned to Thursday, December 15, for Tsatsu's witnesses to give evidence.

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