Former gov’t official gets five year jail term for financial misconduct

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An Accra Fast Track High Court on Wednesday sentenced a key opposition figure to five years’ imprisonment for wilfully causing financial loss to the state and misapplying public property.

The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Henrrieta Abban found Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), guilty on three counts of causing financial loss to the State and one count of misapplying public property and jailed him for five years on each count. The sentences will run concurrently.

The trial of Tsikata, a lawyer and an energy expert, took six years.

Tsikata, a long-time ally of former President Jerry Rawlings, was charged with t hree counts of wilfully causing financial loss of 230,000 Ghanaian cedis (US$230, 000 dollars) to the state through a loan he, on behalf of GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private company. He was also found guilty of misapplying public property.

He is said to have intentionally misapplied 2,000 Ghanaian cedis (US$2,000) to acquire shares in Valley Farms. Valley Farm contracted the loan from the French aid agency, Agence Française de Développement, but defaulted in the payment, compelling GNPC as the guarantors, to pay the loan in 1996.

Tsikata pleaded not guilty and has since appealed against the sentence. Several former members of the Rawlings administration have also been jailed for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

They include former finance minister minister, Kwame Peprah, former agriculture minister Ibrahim Adam, former trade and industry minister, Dan Abodakpi and the late former deputy finance minister Victor Selormey. Some senior public servants have also been jailed for the same offence. Panapress .

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