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20.12.2006 General News

Court dismisses Tsikata's appeal

By GNA
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Accra- The Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, a Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), asking it to order the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to appear before the Fast Track Court to testify and produce documents about the Valley Farms Project.

Tsikata, Appellant-Applicant, had filed the substantive appeal at the Court of Appeal after the court had earlier dismissed interlocutory appeal he filed, which sought to compel the IFC to be part of the appeal.

The ruling by the panel members, Mr Justice S. E. Kanyoke (Presiding); Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah and Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, was unanimous.

The Appeal Court noted that the trial judge at the lower court did not err in failing to recognize and enforce the Fundamental Human Rights of the accused, as expressed in clear mandatory language in Article 19(2) (g) of the 1992 Constitution.

The Court reminded the Applicant of his right to appeal against its decision.

No cost was awarded.

Tsikata is charged at the FTC with three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of 2.3 billion cedis to the State through a loan he, on behalf of GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms and another count of misapplying public property.

Valley Farms contracted the loan from Caisse Francaise de Developpement in 1991 but defaulted in the payment, compelling GNPC, which acted as the guarantor, to pay it in 1996. The trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, an Appeal Court Judge, with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, had admitted him to a self-recognizance bail after he had pleaded not guilty.

The Defence Team is led by Professor Emmanuel Victor O. Dankwa, Major Rowland S. Agbenato (rtd), while the Republic is represented by Ms Gertrude Aikins, Chief State Attorney and Mr Augustines Obour, Assistant State Attorney.

In a related development, the Defence for Tsikata had filed Notice of Appeal to contest the Court of Appeal's decision at the Supreme Court.

This was filed shortly after the substantive appeal was dismissed. Stating the grounds of the appeal, Prof. Dankwa said the Court of Appeal misconstrued the provision in the Legislative Notification (LN) 9, 1958 Schedule, Article VI, Section 8 of the IFC Articles of Agreement, as providing immunity to the current Country Director of the IFC from being summoned to give evidence.

This is despite the fact that the testimony being sought by the Defence did not relate to acts performed by the said Country Director in the official capacity.

The Court of Appeal, he said, in upholding the Trial Court's failure to compel the attendance of the Country Director of the IFC as a witness for the Defence; erred in failing to recognize and enforce the Fundamental Human Rights of his client expressed in clear mandatory language in Article 19(2)(g) of the 1992 Constitution to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on the same conditions as those applicable to witnesses called by the Prosecution.

He said the statutory provisions in respect of the immunity of the IFC, were misinterpreted by the Court of Appeal. Prof. Dankwa stated that the Defence would file additional grounds of appeal upon receipt of a certified true copy of the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

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