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01.11.2007 General News

Supreme Court To Decide On Tsikata’s Appeal November 30

The Supreme Court will on November 30, 2007 decide whether or not to join counsel for the International Financial Corporation to proceedings in an appeal filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.

Counsel for Tsikata, who is standing trial at the Fast Track High Court for allegedly causing financial loss to the state, had filed an application requesting the court to join counsel for the IFC to the appeal, but the Attorney-General, Mr Joe Ghartey, said the application was misconceived because counsel for the IFC was not party to the suit.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice William Atuguba, fixed the date for ruling after Mr Ghartey and counsel for Tsikata, Professor E. V. O. Dankwa, had argued their cases.
Other members of the panel are Mr Justice S. A. Brobbey, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira and Mr Justice R. T. Aninakwah.

Tsikata is challenging the Court of Appeal's decision that the IFC is immune from judicial processes to testify in court.

He is seeking the court's order to compel the IFC to testify in the case in which he has been charged with causing financial loss to the state.

He lost his appeal at the Court of Appeal to compel the IFC to testify in the case but immediately after the Court of Appeal's unanimous verdict, he filed a notice of appeal to challenge the decision at the Supreme Court, thus putting on hold the judgement in the substantive case.

According to Tsikata, the statutory provisions in respect of the immunity of the IFC, among other reasons, were misrepresented by the Court of Appeal.

Following the pendancy of the appeal, judgement in the substantive case has been on hold since December last year.
The high-profile case, which has been pending since 2002, has suffered various fates, following a resort to the law by the defence, and since the outcome of the Supreme Court decision could affect the judgement in the trial court, it has to be on hold.

The Fast Track Court, on January 24, 2006, ruled that the IFC, its employees and assets were immune from judicial processes and, therefore, it could not be called to testify in the matter which Tsikata believed was crucial to his defence.

The court held that if the IFC was not prepared to waive its immunity, the court could not compel it to do so.

That was after Tsikata had requested the Court of Appeal to set aside decisions of the trial court and order the IFC to appear, testify and produce documents in its custody in respect of the funding of studies conducted on the Valley Farms project.

The former chief executive of the GNPC had a brush with the law when, in 2002, the state charged him with three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of about ¢2.3 billion to the state through a loan he, on behalf of the GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms and another count of misapplying ¢20 million in public property.

Valley Farms contracted the loan from Caisse Francaise de Developement in 1991 but defaulted in the payment and the GNPC, which acted as the guarantor, was compelled to pay it in 1996.

Tsikata has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is on self-recognisance bail.

Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh

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