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11.07.2004 General News

Tsikata Vrs Amua-Sekyi Court Rules Monday

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The Accra High Court will, on Monday, decide whether or not the Chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), Mr Justice E. K. Amua-Sekyi, showed bias and animosity towards Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, when he appeared before the commission last month.

The Presiding Judge, Mr Justice Richard Asamoah, fixed the date at the court's sitting in Accra yesterday after counsel for the applicant and the respondent, Professor E. V. O. Dankwa and Nene A. O. Amegatcher respectively, had completed their arguments on the matter.

Nene Amegatcher had submitted that his client was performing his duties as spelt out in the laws that set up the NRC to ensure orderliness, as well as not to allow any individual to hijack the commission's work.

Replying to the applicant's claim that the chairman had refused his request for the original statement of Mr Justice G. E. K. Aikins, counsel said the commission was complying with mandatory provisions which said matters heard in camera could not be heard in public.

He further submitted that the commission had made available the photocopies of Mr Justice Aikins' statement and all relevant documents to the applicant and there had, therefore, been no breach of natural justice.

He said it was neither here nor there for the commission to order Mr Justice Aikins to bring his private documents and entries in his personal diary to the commission because they were not needed by the commission.

Nene Amegatcher said it was, therefore, not capricious on the part of the chairman who had, on behalf of the commission, declined to grant that request by the applicant, emphasising that “the information given by Mr Justice Aikins was enough”.

On the issue of the chairman not allowing the applicant to continue cross examining Mr Justice Aikins, counsel said the law specifically stipulated that cross examination could last only 30 minutes unless a witness made a formal request to continue.

That, he said, the applicant failed to do on that particular day, adding that “it is the duty of the chairman to ensure that procedural rules are complied with”.

He said the commission had limited time to complete its work, pointing out that the chairman just reminded the applicant of the remaining time he had to cross-examine Mr Justice Aikins, contrary to claims by the applicant that he was interrupted by the respondent.

On the attack made on the chairman that he had usurped the functions of the commission, Nene Amegatcher said that had no basis whatsoever and should not be entertained by the court. Counsel for the respondent challenged the applicant to indicate the likelihood of bias against his client and prayed the court to dismiss the applicant's statement of claim.

Replying, Professor Dankwa said the refusal by the respondent to give the original document to his client to enable him to cross- examine Mr Justice Aikins for his inconsistencies on different occasions was contrary to natural justice.

He submitted that the Evidence Decree stated that “where the original copies of evidence are available, they must be produced on request”.

He said there was no good reason for the commission to prevent Mr Justice Aikins from answering certain questions from the applicant, since he had already made what he had said in camera public.

Professor Dankwa added that “the respondent's arguments had no relevance whatsoever. “There is no evidence contradicting the the applicant's claim of animosity against the chairman”.

He, therefore, prayed the court to uphold his client's statement of claim and view that of the applicant as without merit.

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