The judgment of Mrs Henrieta Abban, Appeal Court Justice, acting as High Court Judge in the trial of Mr Tsatsu Tsikata in which Mr Tsiakata was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment in June 2008, has been set aside.
The Court of Appeal’s decision brings to an end the 15-year legal battle in which Mr Tsikata was charged, convicted and sentenced on three counts of willfully causing financial loss to the State and one count of intentionally misapplying public property.
In acquitting and discharging Mr Tsikata in a judgment delivered by Mr Justice Dennis Adjei on Wednesday in respect of an appeal against his conviction and sentence of imprisonment, the Court of Appeal held that there was a miscarriage of Justice in the conviction and sentence of Mr Tsikata.
The Court of Appeal held that the rescission of the trial judge’s own earlier decision to await a Supreme Court decision on whether or not the International Finance Corporation (IFC) had immunity from the jurisdiction of the Courts of Ghana, which would determine whether or not Mr Tsikata could call IFC as a witness, and to proceed to deliver judgment without the Supreme Court’s pronouncement on the matter was an unconstitutional exercise of discretion.
The Court of Appeal further held that by that rescission, which prevented Mr Tsikata from calling IFC to testify as a witness, the constitutional rights of Mr Tsikata to a fair hearing was infringed.
The Court also noted that the right of appeal was a constitutional right which could not be taken away by an executive act such as the exercise of the prerogative of mercy.
Addressing the media in Accra on Thursday over his success at the Court of Appeal, Mr Tsiikata described the judgment as true justice, citing Psalm 94 verse 15 which states “Justice will again be found in the courts and all righteous people will support it”.
Mr Tsikata expressed gratitude to his lawyers, Prof. E.V. O. Danquah, the late Roland Agbenoto and Edward Danquah as well as all those who stood by him, including those who initiated and participated in the ‘Free Tsatsu Campaign’.
Mr Tsikata was a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
During his tenure as CEO, GNPC acted as a guarantor in a loan contracted in 1991 by Valley Farms from Caisse Francaise de Development.
Valley Farms defaulted in the payment and GNPC was compelled to honour payment in 1996 and Mr Tsikata was charged for the offence, jailed and pardoned by former President Kufuor.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)