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23.06.2004 General News

You're Behaving Like A Judge And a Jury – Tsatsu to NRC Chairman

By The Lens
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Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata would have none of the bullying ways of the chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission, Justice Amoah Sekyi, and told him that he was behaving as if he were a judge and jury at the same time

The chairman of the Commission attracted this sharp criticism when he objected to Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata pursuing a line of questioning that he (Tsatsu) had wanted to expose the lies in Justice Aikins' testimony against him before the Commission.

Mr. Tsikata was trying to prove that Justice Aikins has given three different dates on which he (Aikins) alleged that he (Tsatsu) was present at a particular meeting.

According to Mr. Tsikata, Justice Aikins aspects of the evidence given by Justices Aikins during his public hearing were neither consistent with evidence that he had given in camera nor with his own written statement to the Commission.

Justice Aikins in his written statement to the Commission alleged that on July1 1982 Mr. Tsikata was “around” when Amartey Kwei informed the then Chairman Rawlings that the abducted Judges and Military officer had been killed. However during his testimony at a public hearing at the NRC, Justice Aikins testified that, having consulted his memoirs, the date the said meeting took place was on July 2 1982, and not on July 1 1982 as he had previously testified before the Commission.

Apparently seeking to prove that there is no such 'memoir', Mr. Tsikata sought to Justice Aikins to explain why he did not refer to the so-called memoir before his earlier testimonies before the Commission, but the chairman would not allow him to pursue that line of questioning.

The chairman's basis for refusing to allow Mr. Tsikata to pursue that line of questioning was that since the evidence was given in camera he would not allow Mr. Aikins talk about any aspect of it in public.

This 'ruling' caused Mr. Tsikata to draw the attention of Justice Amoah Sekyi to the law under which the NRC was set up and said that the law allowed that “for a good cause” such evidence could be made public. He therefore made a verbal application to the Commission to consider that he has established “good cause” and allow him to pursue his line of questioning.

However, without so much as a perfunctory consultation with the other Commissioners, the Chairman, behaving as if he were a sole Commissioner, 'ruled' that he would not allow Mr. Tsikata to pursue that line of questioning.

At this juncture, Mr. Tsikata, who had been told by the chairman that he had only thirty minutes to conduct his cross-examination, apparently having had enough of the Chairman's obviously biased 'rulings', drew his attention to the fact that he was not a sole Commissioner and therefore there was not a judge and jury. He quoted Section 12 (4) of the NRC Act, which required that a decision of the Commission should be a unanimous decision. A requirement that necessarily means that the chairman should have consulted the other members of the Commission before announcing a 'ruling'.

At this stage the proceedings, in relation to cross-examination of Justice Aikins by Mr. Tsikata, were aborted as Mr. Tsikata stoically refused to be intimidated by the Chairman of the Commission as he insisted that as legal body, the NRC's ought to do its work in accordance with the law. In an interview after the event, Mr. Tsikata has made it clear that he was still looking forward to be allowed to continue his cross-examination of the witness.

Mr Tsikata later testified that he had been in Kpong for the inauguration of the Kpong Dam, and at Ho to do a case on July 2 1982 and could not have been at any such meeting either on July 1 or July 2 of 1982. He desbribed Justice Aikins' assertions “absolutely false and a lie”.

Meanwhile, it is a highly remarkable coincidence that the Friday immediately preceding the Monday on which Justice Aikins gave his public testimony before the Commission, Mr. Tsikata delivered a written response to the NRC in which he denied being at any such meeting and made it clear that he could not have been at any such meeting on the said date. The question did someone alert Justice Aikins to Mr. Tsikata's denial?

It is also highly remarkable that Justice Aikins did not make the information available to the Special Investigation Board (SIB). One day the truth would be told.

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