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21.06.2006 General News

Tsikata Suit Adjourned

By Times
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The Supreme Court yesterday adjourned to June 27 the proceedings in which Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata is challenging the Fast Track High Court (FTHC) that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is 'immune' to the country's court processes.

The FTHC, where the former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Chief Executive is being tried for allegedly causing financial loss to the state, had ruled that the IFC was immune to the processes of the court, a position affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

When the case was called yesterday, Mrs. Justice Georgina T. Wood, presiding, said “Some of us do not have the statement of the respondent but others do, so we are unable to proceed “.

She indicated that the case was going to be adjourned sine die (indefinite) but Major R.S.Agbenator (Rtd), counsel for Mr. Tsikata, cut in to say, “we are trying to arrest a situation at the FTHC.We are under a threat to further proceedings at the trial court”.

The highest court of the land then rescinded its decision and asked that Mr. Tsikata return to court on June 27 for the argument to be heard.

Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal had ruled that the IFC had immunity from the courts of Ghana.

Mr. Tsikata's grounds of appeal are that “The Court of Appeal, having duly recognized that the right of the accused person to have a witness called was embodied in Article 19(2) (g) of the Constitution, was wrong to decide that the right of the applicant under that provision was 'subject to equal right of immunity of IFC not to be ordered to appear in court to testify”.

He argued that the Court of Appeal overstepped its jurisdiction in deciding on matters which were to be decided in the appeal itself, rather than in the application for stay of proceedings that was before the court.

Mr. Tsikata contended that the court disregarded the Evidence Decree 1975 NRCD325, the statute which regulates how a court determines matters relating to a claim of immunity in a court.

He said the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to refuse the application on the basis of a possibility of 'chaos' and the 'fate of the trial' are rendered 'indefinitely uncertain' when no evidence had been put before the court.

The appellant said the Court of Appeal embarked on speculation, instead of deciding on the facts presented in the application.

He also said the Attorney General did not file any affidavit in opposition to contest the matter adding that it was an error on the face of the record for the Court of Appeal to decide that the trial court did nothing wrong in asking IFC to testify.

Other justices on the panel are S.A Brobbey, Julius Ansah, R.T. Aninakwah and Mrs. S.O Adinyirah.

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