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14.02.2006 Crime & Punishment

Tsatsu challenges the immunity IFC country Director

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Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, a Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), standing trial for causing financial loss to the State, has challenged the decision of an Accra Fast Track High Court (FTHC) over the immunity of the Country Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The FTC had earlier ruled that the current Country Director of IFC was immune from the order of the Court under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code to testify in respect of the Valley Farms Project. It further ruled that making an order for the IFC as a corporate body to testify and produce relevant documents would be an exercise in futility.

In his notice of appeal Tsikata noted that Court erred in failing to appreciate the fundamental legal distinction between the IFC as a corporate body and its governors, directors and other staff. Under the relief sought, Tsikata is praying the Court of Appeal to set aside the decision of the FTC.

He is further seeking an order directed to the IFC to appear and testify before the FTC and produce documents in the Corporation's custody in respect of funding of studies conducted on Valley Farms Project and result of the studies.

Tsikata is charged with four counts of causing financial loss and intentionally misapplying funds totalling 2.345 billion cedis belonging 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 Fran=E7aise de Developement in 1991 but defaulted in the 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 (SMCD140). Tsatsu has pleaded not guilty to the charges and the Court has granted him a 700 million-cedi self-recognisance bail.