17.05.2005 General News

Tsatsu's Case adjourned to June 28

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Accra, May 17, GNA - The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to Tuesday, June 28, the hearing of a review application filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), praying the Court to set aside its earlier decision, which ordered him to open his defence at an Accra Fast Track Court. The adjournment became necessary due to the absence in court of Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, a representative from the Attorney-General's Department, told the Court that the DPP was out of the country on a national assignment to South Africa. The representative, who wanted to remain anonymous, informed the Court that she was instructed on Monday to come and stand in for the DPP, and since she had no knowledge about the case, the DPP himself would be the right person to handle it.

The seven-member panel of the Court, presided over by Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chief Justice, granted her plea and consequently fixed the next hearing date for June 28, to enable the DPP to be present in Court.

The other members of the panel were Mr Justice William Atugubah; Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo; Mrs Justice Georgina Wood; Professor Justice Modibo Ocran, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, and Mr Justice R. A. Aninakwah.

On that day, Counsel on both sides would give legal submissions in support of papers filed, after which the Court would fix a date for ruling on the matter.

Tsatsu has been put before the Fast Track Court for wilfully causing financial loss to the State.

In February 1993, he allegedly caused GNPC to guarantee a total amount of 5.5 million French Francs from Caisse Francaise de Development, to Valley Farms, a private cocoa-growing company. When Valley Farms defaulted in repaying the loan, GNPC, which at that time had Tsatsu as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), refunded the money.

Additionally, the Former CEO has been accused of intentionally misapplying funds totalling 2.3 billion cedis, belonging to the State. Tsatsu has denied both charges, and the trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, Appeal Court Judge with an additional responsibility on the case as a High Court Judge, has granted him a self-recognisance bail in the sum of 700 million cedis.

In March 2003, the Fast Track Court over-ruled an application of "no case" brought before it by Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa, Counsel for Tsatsu.

Consequently, the Court ordered Tsatsu to open his defence. Not satisfied with the Court's decision, Counsel for the accused person, in November last year, took the matter to the Court of Appeal, which also dismissed the appeal as being unmeritorious.

Counsel again pursued the matter at the Supreme Court, which in like manner, endorsed the decisions of the courts below, and over-ruled the application by a four-to-one majority decision.

By the review application before the Supreme Court, Counsel for Tsatsu is praying the Court to set aside its own earlier decision that ordered him to go back to the trial Court to open his defence. If the prayer of Tsatsu's Counsel were upheld, the Fast Track Court would have no alternative other than to acquit and discharge him.

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