General News of Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Source: GNA

Tsikata appeals to set aside ruling

Accra, July 5, GNA - An Appeal Court on Wednesday adjourned to July 11, a case in which Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), has filed a motion to set aside a ruling of the Fast Track High Court trying him. The adjournment was at the instance of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joe Ghartey. It was to enable him to obtain copies of the motion filed.

When the case was called for hearing, the Attorney-General told the Civil Division of the Fast Track Court (Appeal Court) that he was not served with copies of the motion.

Tsikata, the Appellant, has sought a relief from the Appeal Court, to set aside decision of the trial court (FTC Criminal Division), presided over by Mrs Henrietta Abban, an Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge.

The Appellant is also asking the Appeal Court to order or direct the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to appear and testify in the case 'Republic versus Tsikata' at the Lower Court.

In addition Tsikata is asking that IFC produced documents in its custody, in respect of the funding of studies conducted on the Valley Farms Project and in respect of the results of the studies.

Tsikata's grounds for the motion were that the Trial Judge at the Lower Court |(FTC) erred in failing to recognise and enforce the fundamental human rights of the accused as expressed in clear language in Article 19 (2) (g) of the 1992 Constitution. He said the Trial Judge erred in failing to appreciate that no violation of the archives of the IFC would be occasioned by an order of the Court to IFC to testify and produce documents in respect of the Valley Farms Project.

According to the Appellant, the Presiding Judge was wrong in failing to appreciate that there was no evidence that any document requested by the Defence were in the archives of the IFC. Tsikata stated that Mrs Abban was wrong when she failed to appreciate that the grant of immunity by the Court from the order the Court itself made for the Country Director to go and testify, was a denial of the right of the accused to a fair hearing under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution.

The Appellant said the Tria l Judge erred in failing to appreciate the fundamental legal distinction between the IFC as a corporate body and its Governors, Directors and other staff.

That, Mrs Abban was wrong in holding that, based on the decision regarding the immunity of governors, directors and other staff of the IFC, in respect of the order she had made, it would be "an exercise in futility' for an order to testify and produce documents to be issued and addressed to the IFC itself.