“Tsikatas Lawyer Has My Document” was Misleading
...Court Orders Graphic To Retract story An Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, has ordered the Daily Graphic to retract the story it carried in its Wednesday, October 30, 2002 edition, headlined. It ordered the paper to correct the mistake and render an apology to the former chief executive officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, who is the accused person. The court noted that the story carried by the Daily Graphic that Tsatsu’s lawyer, Prof E.V.O. Dankwa, refused to give the original copy of a loan guarantee document to Mr Jim Wilson, a prosecution witness, was misleading, since it was not the exact evidence given in court. Mrs Abban gave the order after counsel for Tsatsu Tsikata, Major R.S. Agbenator, raised the issue of the wrong reportage and lamented the damage the publication has caused this client. The second prosecution witness, Mr Daniel Opoku Mensah who was the Head of the corporate planning Department of GNPC told the court that he also acted as secretary to the board from July 1987 to July 1990. During the period, he alleged that GNPC did not discuss issues related to Valley Farms at its board meetings.
Witness elaborated that issues on Valley Farms were not embedded in the minutes of the board meetings of GNPC.
Mr Mensah, however, told the court that he was aware that the GNPC had made investments in Valley Farms and other areas like Bolley Motel, and Ecobank Ghana Limited.
Under a cross-examination from defence counsel, Major Agbenator, witness said the planning department of which he was the head, did not do anything to go into cocoa farming but that GNPC had investments in Valley Farms.
He agreed with the defence counsel that as a farm plantation, it takes a longer time to assess whether an investment made in it would be profitable or not, since it is a long-term project.
Tsatsu, who is facing charges of causing the loss of about ¢2.2 billion to the state detected through forensic auditing of GNPC, has pleaded not guilty to all the four charges brought against him when he first appeared before the Fast Track High Court.
He has been granted ¢700 million self-recognisance bail by the court. According to the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Osafo Sampong, Tsatsu Tsikata, as the chief executive of the GNPC in or about 1996, in Accra willfully caused financial loss to the state, causing to be paid, the sum of Two Million Three Hundred and Six French Francs Forty One Centimes (FRF 2,306,374.41) the equivalent of ¢775,126,310 from the accounts of GNPC to Caisse Francaise de Development on behalf of Valley Farms Company Limited, a private limited liability company which had defaulted on a loan it had contracted from Caisse Francaise de Development.