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25.06.2004 General News

NRC dares Captain Tsikata to produce statements

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Accra, June 25, GNA - The National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Friday dared Captain Kojo Tsikata (rtd), Former National Security Chief, to produce copies of statements it received from two witnesses that he claimed bore the registry stamps of the Commission. The NRC was reacting to a Media Statement Captain Tsikata issued on Thursday when the Ghana News Agency sent it to the Commission for its comments before publication.

The Commission said: "Capt Tsikata claims that copies of statements from two witnesses, who claim he arrived in Ghana on 31 December 1981 and 5 January 1982 that have been received by the Commission have been circulated within sections of the media. "He further claims the statements bear NRC registry stamps; inferring that they were circulated by the Commission. This is absolutely false. What can be said is that if he has a copy of the statement with the Commission's registry stamp, then those stamps could have been manufactured by him.

"The fact of the matter is that all the copies of both statements received do not bear the registry stamps of the Commission and we dare him to produce copies of the statement with stamps or hold his peace. "If the Witnesses chose to circulate their statements to the media after submitting them to us, it is their right. The Commission cannot restrain them."

On the complaint that the NRC had not invited Two Witnesses, who had submitted statements, which indicated that Capt Tsikata was not in country when the execution of the Generals took place, the Commission said: "The fact that at the time of writing the press statement, Captain Tsikata's Witnesses had not been invited to testify does not mean, the Commission will not invite them.

"The Commission will invite them to testify. For Captain Tsikata to claim that the Commission is filling its time with freshly fabricated allegations against him is untrue and mischievous. "What the Commission is doing is to avail Witnesses of the opportunity to tell their stories and afford persons named as involved in human rights violations to respond. "If this is what is being described as fabrication of allegations, then it is unfortunate, as it shows Capt. Tsikata's lack of appreciation of the NRC's work," the Commission said.

"The Commission would like to state that it is focused on the its mandate and would not be distracted by diversionary pronouncement. Whether the Commission is engaged in witch hunt or not is left to the better judgement of Ghanaians, most whom have lived with pain and grief resulting from the violation of their rights. These are our better judges."

Captain Tsikata in the media statement said: "I am issuing this statement to alert the public to the latest phase in the orchestrated effort to use the NRC as a platform for political witch hunting. "With their refusal to face cross-examination the last shreds of credibility conferred on Chris Asher, Adabuga and Oduro by the NRC snapped, exposing the extent of political manipulation of the NRC process that has taken place.

"There is no evidence connecting me to the planning or execution of the 30 June 1982 murders. The new tactic, therefore, is to ambush me with lying witnesses, who claim to be able to debunk parts of my own testimony and by extension discredit the whole of it. "This is calculated to have two effects. First, it provides the NRC with a basis (however flimsy) to refuse to acknowledge my innocence in its final report. "Secondly, and perhaps more importantly given the electoral context, which has coloured the management of the "reconciliation" process from Day One, it provides material that the orchestrators of this campaign within the state security apparatus and the "private" editors that they control can use to extend their shameless propaganda against the regime's "enemies".

The statement said: "Sqn, Ldr. George Tagoe (rtd) now suddenly claims to have remembered that I personally took L/Cpl Samuel Amedeka twice out of prison custody at Nsawam in broad daylight - once to treat him to lunch and once in connection with his wife's delivery of a baby. "This is a preposterous lie. Amedeka was arrested on my instructions for subversion. The coup plotters had my personal elimination as one of their stated aims! Further, no prison administration would simply allow anyone -even a head of national security - to stroll in and out of prison gates with prisoners as if it were a secondary school.

"Any such irregularity would have been documented and would have made news even at the time. In other words, the NRC could easily have investigated and disposed of Tagoe's fabrications, without launching another media circus.

Capt Tsikata said: "NRC's preference to give Tagoe another chance to slander me publicly and baselessly speaks volumes about their own attitude to their task. Capt. Tsikata said: Even if the story was not so ridiculous, the NRC has good reason to be cautious about Sqn Ldr. Tagoe. Under cross-examination last week, Tagoe committed perjury. "When confronted with the fact that I could not have been one of the people who actually ordered the generals to be shot in 1979 he resorted not only to petty insults but also to pathetic lies to shore up his damaged credibility.

"First he claimed that I had served with Capt. Sammy Michel in the Recce Regiment. Secondly he claimed that he (Tagoe) was a reliable judge of my character because he had recruited me into the Service! "The truth: I retired from the Armed Forces before Capt. Michel was commissioned. Further, I was commissioned in 1959 four years before Tagoe himself! He could not, therefore, have been a member of the Selection Board that recruited me as an officer cadet. "It is also significant that as far back as April this year two witnesses who know that I was not in Ghana when the executions took place in 1979 submitted formal written statements to the NRC confirming this fact.

"With little more than three weeks of hearings to go, the Commission has not invited either of these witnesses to testify and place their testimony in the official record. Instead, they are filling their time with freshly fabricated allegations against me. "Finally, the timing is also important. Tagoe's latest allegations were apparently made over two months ago. Why has the NRC waited all this time to bring them to my attention? "NRC has my contact addresses and phone numbers. NRC scheduled last week's cross-examination of Tagoe over 10 weeks ago. Since then my lawyers have been in regular contact with the NRC.

"On 8 June, I interrupted an assignment outside Ghana in order to attend last week's NRC hearings. On 10 June, as previously arranged with the NRC, I spent over four hours at the Commission with two of my lawyers preparing for the cross-examination. "My Lawyers spoke with Dr Attafuah on Monday 14 June. I appeared before the NRC on 15 June and actually cross-examined the same Sqn Ldr Tagoe. On Wednesday 16 June, my lawyers were in contact with Dr Attafuah concerning the failure of the Commission's star witnesses to appear for cross-examination. "On Thursday 17 June I attended Commission sittings to hear the cross- examination of Justice Aikins. It is inexcusable that the NRC did not see fit to notify me concerning these new allegations earlier so that I could dispose of Sqn. Ldr. Tagoe and his "evidence' all at once."

Capt Tsikata said: "The Commission has also received statements from two new "witnesses" who claim respectively that I arrived in Ghana on 31 December 1981 and 5 January 1982. "Copies of these witnesses written statements to the NRC (complete with NRC registry stamps and all!) have been circulating within sections of the media since Friday 18 June. The NRC is yet to serve me or my lawyers with copies of these documents (sic).

"In any case, let us evaluate this new "evidence". The claims are contradictory. Lt Col. Awudu claims that as the first PNDC Chief Ops Officer he arranged my return to Accra and specifically Gondar Baracks from Lome by 1600 hrs on 31st December 1981 and took instructions from me regarding the set up of my office. "By contrast, Capt. Frederick Boaitey Amoh-Twum swears that he met me at the Aflao border station on 1 January 1982 and every day thereafter until 5 January. He says that he initially refused me entry to Ghana pending instructions from Gondar barracks.

"He claims that clearance came from Gondar barracks such that he was able to escort me in a convoy of cars back to Gondar barracks on 5 January. He further claims that I was transported in the Libyan Ambassador's car and cites Sqn. Ldr Sowuh (rtd as a witness to this! "The two claims are contradictory. Even without my response, it should be obvious that at least one of them is false. The truth is that both claims are false. "Both statement claim to be responding to reports that I told the NRC that I was not in Ghana the whole of January 1982. That was not the evidence I gave. And yet rather than drawing attention to this basic error the NRC chooses to circulate these statements. "In my February testimony before the NRC, I spoke of the widespread perception that certain forces had mounted a campaign to subvert the reconciliation process to serve a partisan political agenda. "I pointed out that the NRC's creation of a platform for malicious gossip and third party hearsay for Chris Asher facilitated this agenda." Capt Tsikata accused the Office of the Coordinator of National Security of complicity in the whole affair.

Capt. Tsikata said: "In my February testimony, I also pointed out the dangers of allowing the reconciliation process to be polluted by partisan electoral considerations. "The effort to establish the truth about human rights abuses and to achieve reconciliation is far too important for such treatment. "Over the last 18 months, thousands of people have laid bare their deepest physical and psychological wounds in the hope of achieving some healing and peace.

"These people deserve much more from the NRC than the vicious rumour mongering of the likes of Chris Asher and George Tagoe. They deserve better than media sensationalism and exploitation. "The political witch-hunt that the NRC has become is a grievous insult to all Ghanaians who want above anything else to come to terms with our past and move forward. I will continue to defend my innocence and expose the campaign, which undermines a genuine reconciliation process," Capt Tsikata said.

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