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23.11.2005 Crime & Punishment

Loan was not guaranteed at my instance - Tsatsu

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Accra, Nov. 23, GNA - Tsatsu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), on Wednesday told an Accra Fast Track High Court that he never guaranteed the loan that was granted to Valley Farms.
Answering questions under cross-examination from Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Tsatsu told the court that the granting of the loan was one of the items on the agenda of the Corporation's Board, which was never discussed at its Annual General Meeting.
Continuing with his evidence under cross-examination, Tsatsu told the Court that when he left GNPC in 2000, he did not take the trouble to find out whether the loan the Corporation guaranteed on behalf of Valley Farms had been re-paid.
On the question of the 20 million cedis that GNPC invested in the Valley Farms Project, he told the Court that he only authorised the payment.
Asked by the DPP whether anybody at GNPC knew about the loan guaranteed to Valley Farms, Tsatsu's response was that all those directly involved in the transaction were aware.
Tsatsu disagreed with a suggestion by the DPP that during his tenure as Chief Executive he ran the organisation the way he liked. The Former GNPC Chief Executive Officer is being tried by the Court for allegedly causing the loss of about 2.3 billion cedis to the State through a loan the Corporation guaranteed from Caisse Francaise de Developpement on behalf of Valley Farms in 1991.
In 1991, when Valley Farms defaulted in paying back the loan, GNPC being the guarantor, was compelled to refund the money, which the Prosecution said amounted to causing financial loss to the State. Additionally, Tsatsu has been accused of misapplying an amount of 20 million cedis being public property in the Valley Farms Project. He has denied both charges, and is currently on a 700-million-cedi self-recognisance bail.
Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility on the case as a High Court Judge, has adjourned further hearing to Friday, December 9 for the DPP to continue with his cross-examination.