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02.02.2009 General News

Tsikata seeks 'law on causing financial loss' maintained

By myjoyonline
Tsikata seeks 'law on causing financial loss' maintained









Mr Tsikata speaks to Joy FM

The former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Authority (GNPC), Tsatsu Tsikata, says the law on wilfully causing financial loss to the state should be maintained.

His comment follows those of the anti-corruption agency Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) that the law must stay to check public officials from corrupt practices.

Mr Tsikata and many other former members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were charged and convicted with the law amid suggestions that the law was being used as a tool of political persecution.

But in an interview with Joy FM, Mr Tsikata said even though the law is vague it must stay.

Mr Tsikata was slapped with a five-year sentence by an Accra Fast Track High Court on July 2008 for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

The law and the lash
Some politicians in the country crave for the repeal of the 'Law on wilfully causing financial loss to the state.' Their reasons: it may be used as a tool of political vindictiveness.

Those calling for the repeal of the law say it has a negative backlash and could be subjected to elastic interpretation.

The law was less popular during the reign of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) but saw the conviction of several ex-ministers in court during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Some NDC operatives who suffered the blow of the law include, George Sipa-Yankey, former Director-General at the Finance Ministry, Mr Dan Abodakpi, former Trade and Industry Minister, Mallam Issah, former Youth and Sports Minister, Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister, the late Victor Selormey, Ibrahim Adams, former Food and Agriculture Minister.

Former President Kufuor however granted Mr Tsikata and host of these ex-government functionaries an unconditional pardon before leaving office.

But economist Prof George Aryeetey in an interview with the Chronicle newspaper has described persons pushing for the repeal of the law as people “guilty of malfeasance.”

"If you believe in the rule of law, you should enforce that law, since causing financial loss to the state is a criminal activity," he told the paper.

The Majority Leader Alban Bagbin told the last Parliament he would kick against any move to repeal the law.

While the debate continues on which way to go, it may just be right to consider the law on wilfully causing financial loss as the rod that 'lashes' the wayward politician, experts opine.

Listen to excerpts of the interview with Mr Tsikata

Story by Fiifi Koomson

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