Unprecedented ruling on IFC immunity

17 February 2011

Ghana’s Supreme Court ruled in January that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector lending arm, is not immune from legal action in the country. This is believed to be one of the first times an IFI has been made liable to prosecution in a developing country. However, the Court conceded that IFC officials are immune under the Vienna Convention, to which Ghana is a signatory. The decision came in the case of Tsatsu Tsikata, the former head of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, who was convicted in 2008 for a corruption scandal involving a project in the offshore Jubilee oil field, which was subsequently funded by the IFC (see Update 72, 65).