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11.07.2005 Crime & Punishment

Court orders the arrest of Tsastu Tsikata

Accra, July 11, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court on Monday ordered the arrest of Tsastu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), for failing to appear before it.
When the case was called about 0905 hours, neither Tsastu nor any of his Counsel was present.
The case was, therefore, stood down for some minutes. At about 0945 when the case was called again, Tsastu and his Counsel were still not present hence a bench warrant was issued. The case was, therefore, adjourned to Thursday July 14.
Tsastu is accused of causing financial loss of about 2.3 billion cedis to the State through a loan he, on behalf of the GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private cocoa producing company.
The Company contracted the loan from Caisse Fran=E7aise de Developpement, the French development agency, in 1991 but defaulted in the payment. GNPC, which acted as a guarantor, therefore, paid it in 1996.
Tsastu is also charged with another count of intentionally misapplying public property, contrary to Section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Decree 1977 (SMCD140).
He has denied the charges and the Court, presided over by Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, has admitted him to a 700 million-cedi self-recognisance bail.
A source close to Tsastu and his Counsel said they were not aware that the case would come on hence their failure to be present at the Court.
The source said they were taking the necessary action to remedy the situation, adding that the last time they went to the Supreme Court to file their papers it took them more than three hours because of the introduction of cumbersome procedures.