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19.06.2008 NDC News

NDC party faithful sympathise with Tsatsu

NDC party faithful sympathise with Tsatsu
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Accra, June 18, GNA - Barely 30 minutes after Tsatsu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Cooperation (GNPC), had been jailed by an Accra Fast Track High Court, National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters thronged the forecourt of the Supreme Court building to sympathise with him. Mr John Dramani Mahama, Running Mate of NDC Flag Bearer Professor John Evans Atta Mills and MP for Bole/Bamboi, sat through the court proceedings. The first to arrive was Former President Jerry John Rawlings, who arrived at the scene shortly after Mr Tsikata had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment. He did not get out of his vehicle immediately, but sat in a pensive mood for some time as top NDC officials, who had also arrived, took turns to greet him before he got down to see the Convict. As soon as he got down from his dark green Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle, the crowd that had gathered at the forecourt of the Supreme Court building, hailed him, shouting: JJ!! JJ!! JJ!! He replied by waving his hand but refused to either comment or grant the media any interview. The next to arrive was Professor Mills, who together with Mr Mahama, also walked through the thick crowd to where Tsikata was, amidst the shouting of party slogans. Other top officials present included Dr Kwabena Adjei, National Chairman; Mr Johnson Aseidu-Nketia, General Secretary; Madam Shirley Ayittey, an Aide to the Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings; Esther, wife of Tsikata; and General Arnold Quainoo, Former Chief of Defence Staff. Ms Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Women Organiser of NDC, wept uncontrollably and was consoled by members of the Party. Tsikata, wearing a green and white long-sleeved shirt, was taken away in a Police vehicle amid heavy security after he had stayed on the court premises for more than two hours after the judgment. He was full of smiles as he waved to his family members, friends, party supporters and sympathizers. According to Police sources he would spend the night at the Police Headquarters before being taken to the appropriate prison. Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, the trial judge, turned down Tsikata's application for bail, while he filed an appeal. The Convict, who made the application himself by reading from notes he made while judgment was being delivered, said the bail would have enabled him to contact his Lawyer, who had travelled out of the country. "The application for bail is refused." Mrs Justice Abban said. "You have the right to appeal against the decision of the court," she added. The Court earlier sentenced Tsikata to five years' imprisonment for wilfully causing financial loss to the State and misapplying public property. He was found guilty on three counts of causing financial loss to the State and one count of misapplying public property and jailed for five years on each count. The sentences will run concurrently. He pleaded not guilty and was on a self-recognisance bail. Mrs Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, Principal State Attorney, in the company of Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney General, opposed the bail application. She said there was no notice of appeal before the Court, adding that he could not "put something on nothing". Mrs Obuobisa said even if there were an appeal that should apply in a special or unusual circumstance, including the likelihood of success, and added that the appeal was likely to fail. Tsatsu was charged with three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of GH¢ 230,000 (2.3 billion old cedis) to the State through a loan he, on behalf of GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private company, and another count of misapplying public property.