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18.07.2006 General News

Loss To GNPC Constitutes Loss To The State - AG

By GNA
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Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General (AG) and Minister for Justice, on Monday told an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) trying Tsatsu Tsikata, a Former Chief Executive of GNPC, that a loss to a State corporation such as GNPC, constituted a loss of profit to the State.

"This is because the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is a State company, established under PNDC Law 64 and the law must be obeyed", he stated.

Mr Ghartey was continuing with his address to close the Prosecution's case.

Tsikata is charged with three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of about 2.3 billion cedis to the State through a loan he, on behalf of the GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private company.

The accused is also charged with misapplying public property.

Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, an Appeal Court Judge sitting as a High Court Judge, has admitted him to a self-recognisance bail after he had denied the offence.

Mr Ghartey averred that the accused acted with disregard to PNDC Law 64; saying the ability of GNPC to acquire shares in the company contravened that law.

He contended that the only shares that the Corporation could acquire was the "object of the GNPC", which was petroleum and not cocoa.

Mr Ghartey noted that in the case of the acquisition of the shares with Valley Farms, therefore, it was illegal for the Secretary, the Board or the Chief Executive to grant the approval for the transaction.

He said the Former Chief Executive, who was the Head of the Corporation and whose business was to do with petroleum, took the decision of the transaction.

The Attorney-General asserted that out of the four investments mentioned in the agreement, only one had to do with petroleum.

He said at the time that the payments were made, the law, "causing financial loss to the State" was in effect.

He argued that the entire transaction was not authorised by the statute of the State.

Mr Ghartey noted that after the three payments were made in October, November and December 1996, a letter was written to the accused, who received it and authorised the payments, but he took no steps to stop the payments.

The Defence had earlier told the Court that on the basis of evidence before it, none of the ingredients of the offences, however defined, was established and that the Prosecution had woefully failed to discharge the burden of proof.

The Defence, therefore, called on the FTC to acquit Tsikata because the Prosecution had failed to prove the charges levelled against him.

The Defence argued that the Prosecution was engaged in sheer travesty of justice.

The Attorney-General is leading the team of prosecutors, while Major Rowland S. Agbenato (rtd) appeared for the accused. Prof. Emmanuel V.O. Dankwa (Leading Counsel) was absent from court.

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