Tsikata rejects Kufuor’s pardon, but gets out of prison

Tsatsu Tsikata
Tsatsu Tsikata

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), who was unconditionally pardoned by former President J.A. Kufuor on his last day in office, has rejected the pardon and insisted that he will continue to pursue justice in the court of law.

Describing the gesture of the former President as “the height of hypocrisy”, Mr Tsikata said, “I have never sought, and I do not need your pretence of mercy. Justice is my quest and I will pursue this quest in accordance with the constitution and laws of Ghana.”

In a two-page hand-written note to the ex-President, dated January 6, 2009, Tsatsu wrote, “Your apparent exercise of the presidential prerogative of mercy in respect of a conviction and imprisonment which you were the prime mover of, is the height of hypocrisy.”

According to him, an official of the Prisons Headquarters came to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital earlier on January 6, 2009 to inform him that he had a warrant under the hand of the ex-President granting him a pardon, and added that he was not allowed a copy of the document.

“The desecration of justice that was perpetrated against me in the Fast Track High Court on June 8, 2008 was at your instance, initiated in 2001 with your first Attorney-General, Nana Akufo-Addo. Nothing can divert attention from the responsibilities of the judges before whom my appeal and other legal processes are currently pending concerning my case.

“Indeed, your action in these final hours of your administration improperly interferes with these judicial processes and is clearly in bad faith. Your participation, indeed, your leading role in desecrating justice, not only in relation to me, but in many other cases, are part of your legacy as President of Ghana,” he said.

Mr Tsikata said he was convinced that those bad examples would not endure as part of the country’s future, quoting Psalm 94 verses 15, which prophetically says that “Justice will again be found in the courts, and all righteous people will support it.”

All efforts by the Daily Graphic to get Mr Tsikata failed, but his elder brother, Mr Fui Tsikata, said that Tsatsu’s appeal was going to be pursued to clear his name, whether there was a pardon or no pardon.

Asked whether the rejection of the pardon meant Tsatsu was still going to be in prison, Mr Fui Tsikata responded in the negative and stated that his brother would have to be out of prison, because he was there for no apparent offence.

Tsatsu Tsikata was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on June 18, 2008, by an Accra Fast Track High Court for causing financial loss to the state through a loan that the GNPC guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private cocoa-growing company.

He was found guilty on three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and another count of misapplying public property.

His trial started in 2002 and travelled back and forth the court ladder until his sentence, which generated a lot of controversy.

Valley Farms contracted the loan from Caisse Francaise de Developement in 1991, but defaulted in the payment and the GNPC, which acted as the guarantor, was compelled to pay it in 1996.

Tsikata, who had maintained his innocence throughout the six-year trial, has appealed against his conviction.

He was among more than 500 people, including high-profile personalities who had served various prison terms for causing financial loss to the state, who were pardoned.

A statement signed by a Deputy Minister of information, Mr Frank Agyekum, and issued in Accra, said the President granted the free, absolute and unconditional pardon under his prerogative of mercy as enshrined in Article 72 of the Constitution.

Mr Tsikata, who had been on admission at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has been discharged.

Other persons who have been granted free, absolute and unconditional pardon, although they had completed their various terms of prison sentence are Mr Kwame Peprah, a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning; Mr Akenteng Appiah-Menka, who served a prison term in 1986 for causing financial loss to the state, as well as Mallam Issah, a former Minister of Youth and Sports, who also served a prison term under the Kufuor administration.

Other personalities who had served various prison terms for causing financial loss to the state and had been pardoned included Mr Dan Abodakpi, a former Minister of Trade and Industry; Mr Ibrahim Adam, a former Minister of Food and Agriculture; Dr George SipahYankey, a former Director at the Ministry of Finance, all under the NDC administration.

First time offenders who had served more than half of their, prison terms, nursing mothers, prisoners above 70 years of age, seriously ill prisoners and persons serving at the President’s pleasure were also affected.

However, those who had been convicted for murder and had served at least 10 years, have shown remorse and are well-behaved would have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment and a definite ten of 20 years, with effect from the day of amnesty.

Source: Daily Graphic

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