THE FORMER Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) boss, Tsatsu Tsikata, has been granted a GHÃ‚Â¢1million self recognizance bail by an Accra Fast Track High Court.
Mr. Tsikata, who has refused an unconditional pardon by former President John Agyekum Kufuor, was seeking the bail to enable him contest an appeal on his alleged bias allegation against Justice Henrietta Abban, the judge who sentenced him to five yearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ imprisonment for causing financial loss to the state.
Mr. TsikataÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s move for the bail was for him to allegedly seek acquittal to disassociate himself from any criminality.
His counsel, E.V.O. Dankwa, arguing the motion yesterday, indicated that the appeal has grounds to succeed looking at the erroneous nature of the judgment.
A medical report, according to counsel, suggested that the accused should not be sent back to prison since he may possibly not survive another Asthmatic attack due to the bad conditions there.
Also, he said the pardon granted was contestable in law and should not be the basis of granting liberty to Tsatsu while he awaits his appeal. Ã‚Â
Mrs. Yvonne Obuobisa, a Senior State Attorney, indicating that the circumstances surrounding the case made the court unable to hear the matter, requested that the court granted her a short period to file a supplementary affidavit in opposition to the bail application.
She indicated that as the Attorney GeneralÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Department for sometime now had been without an Attorney General they needed a little time to organise themselves, but the judge, who observed that Ã¢â‚¬ËœJustice delayed was Justice deniedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, declined the request on grounds that the motion had been pending since November last year and the AG had done nothing about their affidavit.
The judge, in granting the application, stated that if Mr. Tsikata losses his appeal he would have to serve his jail term but if he succeeds, he would be given some compensation so there was no need keeping him in custody.
Mr. Dankwa, in his submission, stated that Justice Henrietta Abban showed manifest bias against Mr. Tsikata in the conduct of the trial and particularly in relation to her decision that she would proceed to give judgment when no notice had been served on him to that effect.
According to him the Judge erred in taking into consideration matters that were entirely extraneous to the proceedings which included a claim that the accused had been a member of the PNDC government which enacted the law on causing financial loss to the state, a matter in which no evidence had been led by the prosecution and without any reference to the case.
He noted that the Judge disregarded evidence from the prosecution itself which made it clear that the project, for which the charges had been brought, was profitable investment which would be of benefit to the nation and GNPC, adding that the Judge failed to consider the fact that the fifth prosecution witness was totally discredited as a witness but rather relied on his evidence to convict without referring to the accused counselÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cross-examination.
Mr. Dankwa further stated that the judge erred in law in pronouncing judgment when she had previously stated that she was awaiting a decision of the Supreme Court on the question whether the International Finance Corporation was amenable to the jurisdiction of the court of Ghana when the decision of the Supreme Court was to be pronounced on June 25, 2008.
The Judge, he said, was wrong when she stated that there was no provision for indemnity from Valley Farms for the guarantee when the express terms of the guarantee agreement gave GNPC a right of subrogation over the assets of Valley Farms and further stressed that she failed to appreciate the role Merchant Bank played as the trustee of GNPC resources.
He added that the judge as well erred in law that because the investment in Valley Farms was outside the objects of GNPC on her interpretation of the statute setting up GNPC, financial loss had been caused to the state.
He indicated that it was also wrong for the Judge to have assumed that an investment in a cocoa project was unrelated to the business of government, when there was uncontested evidence that funding from the export of cocoa was critical to the responsibility of GNPC to import crude oil for the country.
By Mary Anane