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28.10.2008 Social News

Tsikata’s certiorari application was devoid of any merit – Supreme Court

By gna

The Supreme Court has stated that it dismissed Tsatsu Tsikata's application for certiorari on October 16 because it was “unmeritorious”.

In summarizing its decisions filed at the Registry on Friday, October 24, the Court said: “Indeed, the application is devoid of any merit whatsoever, and it is for this reason that we have refused or dismissed it.”

On October 16, the five-member panel presided over by Ms. Justice Sophia Akuffo refused to quash the judgment delivered by an Accra Fast Track Court that tried and convicted the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on June 18 for wilfully causing financial loss to the State.

The Court further declined to arrest judgment on whether or not to order the International Finance Corporation to testify in the matter.

After his conviction on June 18, Tsikata filed the application praying the Supreme Court to quash the Fast Track Court's judgment on the grounds that Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, the trial judge, was biased against him.

Tsikata was of the view that the action of Mrs Justice Abban had the potential of undermining the authority of the Supreme Court.

He said his application was to enable the court to ensure that the administration of justice might not be brought into disrepute by what he termed “the desecration of Justice”.

In its reasons for dismissing the application, the Supreme Court stated that after a thorough study of the application “we do not find any justification for granting any of the relief sought by Tsatsu.”

It explained that its supervisory jurisdiction over the superior courts “is one which has far reaching potential and, as such, it is important that we exercise it with circumspection so as to achieve the purpose for which we were given such a power.

“We are not to use this power to interfere unduly with the exercise of judicial discretion, nor are we to allow it to be used as an alternative to appeal.”

The Supreme Court further explained that it had been repeated on several occasions that want of jurisdiction must not be imputed to a superior court in the absence of clear error amounting to illegality.

“The question of whether or not to exercise our supervisory jurisdiction must always be guided solely by the real circumstances surrounding each application. In the … case, the record clearly indicates that this is not the right occasion for its exercise.”

On June 18, Tsikata was found guilty on three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of 230,000 Ghana Cedis to the State, and an additional count of misapplying public property to the tune of 2,000 Ghana Cedis, and accordingly sentenced him to five years' imprisonment.

In 2002, he guaranteed a loan of 5.5 French Francs for Valley Farms, a limited liability private cocoa-producing company, on behalf of GNPC.

Valley Farms contracted the loan from Caisse Française de Devéloppement in 1991, but defaulted in its payment.

GNPC which acted as the guarantor was forced to pay the loan in 1996, and being the CEO, Tsikata was consequently charged with those offences, which had unfortunately landed him in prison.