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07.07.2004 General News

Tsikata denies his complicity in Judges' murder

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Accra, July 7, GNA- Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, Lawyer, has denied allegations by Mr Chris Asher Jnr, Witness, linking him to a conspiracy to the murder of the three High Courts Judges and the retired Army Officer in 1982.

Mr Tsikata was cross-examining Mr Asher on Wednesday at the public sitting at National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) in Accra.

Mr Tsikata stated that he was not involved in any conspiracy involving former President Rawlings, Former National Security Advisor Captain Kojo Tsikata, and Sergeant Alolga Akata Pore, then Member of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), to have a mafia established for the elimination of certain people.

The Judges; Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong, Mr Fred Poku Sarkodee and Mrs Cecilia Koranteng-Addow together with a retired Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted from their homes during curfew hours on the night of June 30, 1982.

The four were later found dead, with their bodies charred at the Bundase Military Range on the Accra Plains.

Mr Asher, also known as Barima Awuakye Akantang, in his earlier evidence at the Commission said that Lance Corporal Amedeka, then in detention at Nsawam Prisons for complicity in the murder had told him that Mr Tsikata had taken part in the selection of the four murdered people.

Mr Tsikata said that the Special Investigation Board (SIB) Trial, which looked into the case of the abduction and murder of the four personalities, where he served as Counsel for Captain Tsikata, and Lance Corporal Amedeka did not mention him (Mr Tsikata) nor made any reference to him.

"I can't imagine if Lance Corporal Amedeka was saying things he could not have come forward and say. What is clear to me is Mr Asher, in the guise of an advisor, was urging them to make allegation against me, but none of those people made any allegation against me," Mr Tsikata said.

Mr Tsikata also denied an allegation of a discussion over what should be done to eliminate the late Yeye Boy, a jujuman in the Volta Region. He said he had read about the Yeye Boy, and that he was not somebody who had featured in any conversation with Flt Lt Rawlings, then Chairman of the PNDC.

"Juju is not my area of specialisation nor interest," he said. Mr Tsikata said the testimony of Mr Asher was designed to get himself immunity without answering charges of murder against him, and that Mr Asher was flouting his immunity in the face of the relatives of the alleged murder victims.

"He is deceiving the Commission. This is not somebody I should even have to answer," Mr Tsikata said and added that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) should arrest Mr Asher for the murder charge.

Mr Tsikata's cross-examination was nearly suspended when the Chairman of the Commission, Mr Kweku Amua-Sekyi asked Mr Asher to leave the Witness chair pending the determination of an application by Mr Tsikata at the High Court to restrain the Chairman from participating in any of determinations affecting Mr Tsikata at the Commission.

Mr Tsikata, who had earlier announced the application and adjournment however, after the Chairman had asked Mr Asher to leave, stated that he would do the cross-examination, and the Chairman allowed it to proceed. The Chairman allowed the cross-examination to go beyond the initial 30 minutes he said he would allow.

He however, rejected an application from Mr Tsikata for an extra time after the 55 minutes.

Another Witness, Madam Helena Poku had earlier told the Commission that in June 1979 at Bantama, soldiers in an army truck hit her face and her eyes with their guns when she raised her hands from a taxi, in protest against the presence of soldiers around the area.

She said she bled from her eyes, and had a cut on her mouth. A dentist later removed four of her teeth, and she had since developed a deformed face.

Madam Poku, who said she was a businesswoman who plied London and the West African Coast told the Commission that in 1986, two soldiers arrested her on an allegation that she was making noise at the Kotoka International Airport.

The soldiers accused her of "challenging" them, when she asked them to send her to the Airport Police Station rather than their guardroom at the Airport if she had faulted.

Madam Poku said the soldiers beat her with the butt of their weapons and sent her to the guardroom and subjected her to slaps and shaved her. "It was my shouts of Awurade, Awurade (Lord! Lord!) that saved me," she said.

Witness said after 30 minutes of maltreatment, the boss of the soldiers, one Fordjour arrived, and when the soldiers told him that she was challenging them, he ordered that she should be stretched on a table and they gave her 50 strokes at her back.

Madam Poku said she nearly crawled home, and flew to Monrovia later for treatment, and further to London but she still felt the pains at her back.

Doctors in 1998 diagnosed her as suffering from a dislocation of the spine, for which treatment would cost 32 million cedis, adding that there was still a blood clot at her back from the beatings. Witness said her business collapsed because she used her financial resources in search for treatment.

Commission said sorry for the brutalities meted out to the Witness.