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19.01.2006 Crime & Punishment

IFC invokes its immunity in Tsatsu's case

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Accra, Jan. 19, GNA - A witness in the case of Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation's (GNPC), on Thursday told an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) that the International Financial Corporation (IFC) had immunity that it could not waive.
Counsel for IFC Country Director, Mr Kizito Beyuo told the Court that, "the IFC has immunity from all processes and does not intend to waive that."
At its last sitting, the FTC subpoenaed the Country Director, who is a witness in the case, to furnish it with some documents in respect of Valley Farms.
The former Chief Executive of the GNPC is charged with causing financial loss to the State.
Mr Beyuo stated that immunity was a statutory provision that the Constitution recognized and that "consequently it should be allowed, not to waive the immunity".
The Defence Team argued that it was not fair, and that the Court should insist that the documents be brought before it. Replying, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Ayikoi Otoo, who led a team of State Attorneys said Article 19(2) g as submitted by Counsel for defence, should be read in conjunction with Article 73, in order to avoid any absurdity.
Tsatsu is charged with four counts of causing financial loss and intentionally misapplying funds totalling 2.345 billion cedis to the State through a loan he guaranteed on behalf of the GNPC for Valley Farms Company, a private cocoa buying company.
The company contracted the loan from Caisse Francaise De Developpement in 1991 but defaulted in payment. GNPC, which acted as the guarantor, therefore, paid it in 1996.
The offence, according to the Prosecution, was contrary to Section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Decree 1977 (SMCD 140). Tsatsu, who was led in his evidence in chief by Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa had stressed that he did not cause any financial loss to the State.
The accused stressed that he did not intentionally misapply any funds, and the Court presided over by Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, Appeal Court Judge sitting on the case as a High Court Judge, has granted him a 700-million cedi self-recognisance bail.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney and Mr Augustines rpt Augustines Obuor, a State Attorney are representing the State. Major Rowland S. Agbenato (rtd) is a Co-Counsel for the defence. The case was adjourned to January 24.