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26.02.2009 General News

Tsatsu's case before Supreme Court

Tsatsu's case before Supreme Court

Former President Kufuor's pardon to Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), who was convicted of causing financial loss to the state and sentenced to five years' imprisonment, is now an issue before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has expressed interest in looking into the issue and would subsequently decide whether or not the pardon granted to Mr Tsikata by Mr John Agyekum Kufuor has any effect on an application for review filed by Mr Tsikata.

Mr Tsikata, who has maintained his innocence, was convicted on June 18, 2008, for causing financial loss to the state and has since been granted an absolute and unconditional pardon by former President Kufuor.

He has, however, rejected the pardon, describing the former President's gesture as "hypocrisy", and has since been granted bail by the Accra Fast Track High Court, pending the outcome of an appeal he filed against his conviction.

After rejecting the pardon, Mr Tsikata filed an application praying the Supreme Court to review its decision that said the trial judge who sentenced him had not been biased.

He filed a subsequent application for extension of time to enable him to produce fresh evidence into his application for a review.

According to the applicant, the trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban, had interacted with the Executive before convicting him and therefore there had been an Executive interference in his trial.

The Supreme Court was expected to rule on the application for extension of time yesterday but at the court's sitting in Accra, it emerged that the Attomey-General's office had in its reply to Mr Tsikata, raised the issue of pardon.

Although the Attorney-General's office filed a subsequent affidavit withdrawing the aspect of the pardon, the court expressed its desire to look into the issue.

Consequently, the court, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba, with Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Mrs Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse and Mr Justice P. Baffoe-Bonnie as members, ordered parties to file the necessary papers on the issue of pardon to Mr Tsikata.

It also cited some authorities and encouraged the parties in the matter to look at them while they prepared their addresses.

It accordingly ordered the Attorney-General to file a copy of the former President's pardon within a week, as well as file other necessary documents on the matter on or before March 13, 2009.

It also ordered Mr Tsikata to reply to the filed papers on or before March 24, 2009.

The matter was subsequently adjourned to April 8, 2009 for hearing.

"The court's decision on the issue of pardon to Mr Tsikata would then determine whether or not it would be necessary for Mr Tsikata to pursue his application for review.

At the court's sitting in Accra yesterday, the counsel for Mr Tsikata, Professor E. V. O. Dankwa, informed the court that his client had not received a copy of the pardon and therefore did not know the terms of the pardon.

The court then ordered the Attorney-General's office to file a copy of the pardon, as well as furnish the applicant with a copy.