Supreme Court orders Tsikata to open defence
Accra, June 28, GNA - The Supreme Court by a 6-1 majority on Tuesday ordered Tsatu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), to go back and open his defence at the Fast Track High Court. The Court dismissed the motion Tsikata filed for a review of its earlier ruling in his trial for wilfully causing financial loss to the tune of 2.15 billion cedis to the State.
The Chief Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Ms Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood, Professor Justice Modibo Ocran, Mr Justice Julius Ansah and Mr Justice R.T. Aninakwah held the view that Tsikata should answer the charges preferred against him. Mr Justice Williams A. Atuguba, dissented, saying the accused should not stand trial at the Fast Track Court (FTC) because he had no case to defend. The court did not award any cost against Tsikata.
The Prosecution said Tsikata circumvented laid down corporate objectives of GNPC, when he by-passed the Board and on his own committed the GNPC to guarantee a loan of 5.5 million French Francs that Caisse Fran=E7aise de Developpement, a French Aid Agency, granted to Valley Farm, a private cocoa growing company. The GNPC held initial equity shares of 17.39 per cent in the Company.
When the distressed, Valley Farm defaulted in the repayment of the loan, Tsikata without prior approval of the GNPC Board, paid out of its operational funds, the principal amount plus interest, all totalling 6,919,123.23 French Francs, the Prosecution said. This action of his, adversely affected the financial status of GNPC, hence a loss to the State, the Prosecution said. Tsikata did not plea to the charge and the trial judge, Mr Justice Julius Ansah entered a plea of not guilty for him and admitted him to a 500 million-cedi self-recognisance bail. In his application before the Supreme Court Tsikata stated that the FTC had no jurisdiction to try him.
The Chief Justice, who read the brief judgment, noted that "by a majority of 6-1, the Respondent's action succeeded and the motion by the Defendant was dismissed. He said the Defendant did not show any proof of exceptional circumstances that called for a review in the Supreme Court's earlier decision and at the Court of Appeal.
"By majority, the Appellant has not been able to satisfy us. The application for review is accordingly dismissed." After the close of the Prosecution's case, the Defendant made a submission of "no case", at the FTC, which he lost. Tsikata then went to the Court of Appeal to appeal against that decision, but he lost. He moved further to the Supreme Court to appeal against the decision but it dismissed it by a 4-1-majority decision, and as a result, he filed the motion for a review of the Supreme Court's decision.
Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions and Mr Augustines (Ed: correct) Obuor, Assistant State Attorney, represented the Republic, while Professor E.V.O. Dankwah and Major Rowland S. Agbenato (rtd) represented Tsikata.