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15.06.2004 General News

Capt Tsikata cross-examines NRC Witnesses

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Accra, June 15, GNA - Captain Kojo Tsikata (rtd) former National Security Advisor, on Tuesday made a third appearance at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) and denied any link with the execution of the Generals in 1979.

Captain Tsikata stated an alibi, explaining that he was in Luanda, Angola, at the time of the execution of the Generals in June 1979. Captain Tsikata was at the Commission public hearing in Accra to cross-examine Squadron Leader George Tagoe, Ex Corporal Alhassan Adama Akati and Mr Alex Adjei, all Witnesses, who had mentioned him in their evidences.

Squadron Leader Tagoe had said that Capt Sammy Michelle, then Chairman of the Preliminary Investigation Team (PIT), had given him a list of 13 people, which included the name of Capt Tsikata, that were the brains behind the execution of the Generals in 1979.

The PIT operated under, and advised the erstwhile military regime of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), which ruled Ghana after a military take-over on June 4 1979.

Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, led a legal team, in which were

Captain Tsikata stated that he was in Luanda, Angola, between April and the latter part of July in 1979, and never visited home in that period, during which the Generals were executed.

He said he came back to Ghana after the second executions, via Nigeria where he spent a couple days with a Brigadier Twum Barima, because the only route from Angola to Ghana was through Lagos.

Captain Tsikata stated that it was on his return that one Ken Acquah, then working with the AFRC Secretariat briefed him on how June 4 occurred, and the events thereafter.

In reaction to a statement from Squadron Leader Tagoe during the cross-examination that Capt. Michelle knew Capt Tsikata well, because he (Michelle) and Capt Tsikata had both been in the Recce Regiment, Capt Tsikata said he (Tsikata) left the Army in 1965, and also the Regiment before Capt Michelle was enlisted.

Squadron Leader Tagoe had during the cross-examination maintained that the list was correct, because it came from Capt Michelle, who he described as kingpin of the PIT.

He did not accept a suggestion from Dr Asamoah that Capt Tsikata was not in Ghana at the time of the executions.

"It is never true, he was there" Squadron Leader Tagoe said, and added that Capt Tsikata had come earlier than expected, adding that Capt Tsikata, whom he said he enlisted into the Forces, operated at the smokescreen.

Capt Tsikata accepted the evidence from to Ex Cpl Akati, that he had ordered that he should be kept in the Castle Guardroom, but denied ordering that he should not be given food and water for two weeks, after Ex Cpl Akati had handed over his weapon to him following a scuffle with soldiers at the Castle.

This was after a failed coup attempt to overthrow the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council.

Ex Corporal Akati, said one soldier, whom he named as Corporal Agyemang was killed in the scuffle.

Ex Corporal Akati did not accept the suggestion from Dr Asamoah, that Capt Tsikata ordered his detention in the guardroom for his own protection, and said he was really denied food but a soldier secretly fed him in the toilet during the period.

Captain Tsikata denied being present at the BNI during the interrogation of Ex Corporal Akati at the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), but the Ex Corporal maintained that during cross-examination that Capt Tsikata had always been present, and often came there in the night.

Ex Corporal Akati said he was pressurised to name some 15 people as accomplices in his failed coup attempt to be freed, but he stood his grounds and took sole responsibility for the offence.

Captain Tsikata stated an alibi in the evidence of Mr Adjei, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asamankese, who said in his evidence that Capt Tsikata and Mr Riad Hozaifeh were present when he was being tortured at the Burma Camp on February 2, 1982.

Dr Obed Asamoah had during cross-examination suggested that the date of the arrest, as shown by the then Public Tribunal was January 2, 1982. Captain Tsikata said at the time of January 2, 1982, he was in Abidjan on a Christmas and New Year holidays, and returned late in January 1982, because of the closure of borders and the airports.

Mr Adjei, who was visibly angry, had earlier objected to the representation of Capt Tsikata on the grounds that he (Dr Asamoah) was not present at the time of the events he spoke of in his evidence but the NRC Chairman, Mr Justice Kweku Etru Amua-Sekyi explained that Dr Asamoah was representing his client.

Mr Adjei was emphatic on the date of February 2 1982 and maintained that Capt Tsikata was present as soldiers tortured him. Witness admitted being tried by the Public Tribunal but said he was never convicted.

He also admitted soldiers taking money from him, but they could not produce it when Mr Addo Aikins, then Tribunal Chairman asked them to. Dr Asamoah said the money was paid into a special account, but Mr Adjei asked Dr Asamoah why he (Mr Adjei) was not given the receipts, if the money was paid into such an account.

Meanwhile NRC Chairman, Justice Amua-Sekyi said the Commission would by the end of June make a public announcement whether it would allow Counsel for Witnesses to address the Commission.

He made the announcement, when Dr Asomoah, who led the team of lawyers to cross-examine the three Witnesses, had asked if he could address the Commission. Hearing continues on Wednesday.