Counsel for Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), standing trial for causing financial loss to the state, concluded his address before the Fast Track High Court in Accra last Thursday saying “acquittal of the accused is the just conclusion of this case.”
With the conclusion of the address, which spanned four court sittings, the prosecution is now expected to respond to it on July 5, after which the court, presided over by Mrs. Justice Henrietta Abban of the Court of Appeal, will fix a date for judgement.
Mr.Tsikata has been charged with three counts of causing financial loss of about ў2.3 billion through a loan he, acting on behalf of the GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms Limited, a private cocoa producing company, and another count of misapplying public funds.
Valley Farms contracted the loan from Caisse Centrale, now Agence Francaise de Development (ADF), in 1991, but defaulted in the payment compelling GNPC, which acted as guarantors, to pay the loan in 1996.
Concluding the address, Major R.S. Agbenator (Rtd), counsel for Mr Tsikata, said on the basis of evidence before the court, none of the ingredients of the offences, however defined by the prosecution, has been established.
“No act of the accused, apart from his entry into the guarantee agreement, has been linked to the payments that are in the particulars of the counts as charged”, he said, adding “the guarantee agreement cannot be made retroactively criminal”.
Counsel said there was no evidence of wilfully causing financial loss as there was no evidence of financial loss incurred either by GNPC or by state adding, “assets have rather been created for GNPC that are held in trust by a professional trust corporation against whom there is recourse if failure in their duty to the beneficiary”.
He said there was also no evidence of misapplication by the accused nor of the intention to misapply.