A Court of Appeal has acquitted and discharged NDC lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata who was jailed in 2008 for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
Justice Dennis Adjei said there was a miscarriage of justice when an Accra Fast Track High Court on June 18, 2008, found him guilty on three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and another count of misapplying public property.
Despite receiving an unconditional presidential pardon in 2009, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has been stressing his innocence and filed an appeal on June 30, 2016.
Expressing delight at the over-turned verdict, Tsikata quoted Psalm 94:5 “Justice will again be found in the courts, and all righteous people will support it ” and emphasised that indeed “justice has been found in the court”.
Eight years ago, Mrs. Justice Henrietta Abban caught Tsikata’s legal team by surprise when she suddenly delivered judgment.
It was a case in which the former CEO had used GNPC to in 1991, guarantee a loan to a private cocoa-growing company, Valley Farms, which later defaulted in the payment. The state acting through GNPC was compelled to pay the loan in 1996.
After a new government of the New Patriotic Party came into office in 2000, Tsatsu Tsikata was hurled before court in 2002 on the charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
President Kufuor’s government initiated criminal proceedings against the former GNPC CEO.
The case dragged on for six years and is believed to have been one of the longest trial by the state against a public officer in Ghana. At a point, a constitutional question came up during the trial and was pending determination by the Supreme Court.
The court was to settle the matter on June 25, 2008. But before the case could be determined the trial judge at the Accra Fast Track High Court moved to deliver judgment much to the surprise of the accused.
He was jailed five years in a trial which Tsatsu Tsikata and the NDC said smacks of political persecution.
As he was forced by a wrong application of law into jail, Tsikata again indicated he was also forced out of jail by the granting of an unconditional pardon by President John Kufuor in the last days of the NPP government in January 2009.
He was then hospitalised at Korle-Bu after a severe asthmatic attack. He effectively spent about six months in jail serving the term.
“The pardon that was supposedly granted me is something I rejected immediately …because it given in bad faith” he told Joy News’ Joseph Ackah-Blay after emerging from the court.
He explained that he was interested in justice and not mercy hence his appeal to challenge the basis of the 2008 judgment.
“What the court has done today is to decide the merits of this case and therefore set aside the [earlier] judgment and I am now acquitted and discharged” he said.