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09.11.2004 General News

Tsikata goes back to Supreme Court

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Accra, Nov 9, GNA - Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), on Tuesday filed an application for the review of the Supreme Court's own ruling on Monday that he should open his defence at an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC).

In his statement of case, Tsikata said the application for review "is brought under Rule 54 of the Supreme Court Rules 1996 (CI 16) that in view of the exceptional circumstances, which have resulted in miscarriage of justice by the majority decision, must be reviewed."

Giving exceptional circumstances warranting a review of the Supreme Court decision, Tsikata said the judgment of the majority of the court "in not even adverting to Section 11 of the Evidence Decree regarding the burden of proof in criminal matters was delivered per incuriam and was clearly and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice."

He said the judgment of the majority of the court in respect of the responsibility of the judge upon a submission of no case negated the presumption of innocence in criminal cases which was a fundamental human right provided for in Article 19 (Two) (C) of the Constitution and acknowledged as basic to criminal jurisprudence.

Tsikata stated further that the majority of the court in holding that the failure of the trial judge to give reasons for her decision, though regrettable, did not occasion a miscarriage of justice to the accused amounted to a grave miscarriage of justice.

He said the majority of the court failed to appreciate that four fundamental constitutional principles had been breached by the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had been brought before it on appeal. In a four-one majority decision yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld another one given earlier by the Court of Appeal that Tsikata should open his defence at the FTC in a case in which he is alleged to have caused financial loss to the State.

Yesterday, he lost his appeal on all three counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the State, and an additional count of intentionally misapplying public property contrary to Section One (two) of the Public Property Protection Decree 1977 (SMCD 140).

Justice Professor Modibo Ocran delivered the majority decision of Justice Sophia Akuffo; Justice Allan Steve Brobbey and Justice Georgina Wood.

Justice William Atuguba dissented, and argued that Tsikata should be acquitted and discharged in its duty to prove wrongdoing on the part of Tsikata.

When the case came up for hearing at the FTC on Tuesday, Tsikata, who is being tried for causing financial loss of about 2.3 billion cedis to the State, informed the court that he had filed an application for the review of the Supreme Court's decision. Consequently, the FTC adjourned the substantive case to Wednesday, November 24.

Tsikata, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge, used GNPC to guarantee a loan agreement on behalf of Valley Farms, a private cocoa-producing company.

The company contracted the loan from Caise Francaise de Development, a French company in 1991, and defaulted in the payment, so GNPC, the guarantor was called upon to pay the loan in 1996. Tsikata's action in using GNPC to guarantee and subsequently pay the loan amounted to causing financial loss to the State. Therefore, in March 2003, he was put before the FTC to answer the charge.

Tsikata is currently on bail after denying the charge preferred against him and Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa is his counsel.

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