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Ghana court rules that top politician was unjustly jailed in 2008

Ghana court rules that top politician was unjustly jailed in 2008

Ghana

A top member of Ghana’s ruling National democratic Congress (NDC) and a legal luminary in the country, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, was jailed in 2008 for wilfully causing financial loss to the state when he was at the helm of the country’s petroleum corporation.

Eight years down the line, a higher court (the Court of Appeal) has ruled that the high court unjustly jailed Mr Tsikata and subsequently cleared him of any wrongdoing.

In a judgement handed on Wednesday, the Appeal Court in the capital, Accra, overturned the earlier decision of a Fast Track High Court, the three-member panel described Mr Tsikata’s conviction as a miscarriage of justice and, therefore, acquitted and discharged him.

The procedure adopted by the trial High Court judge has occasioned a miscarriage of justice, as it departs from the rules which permeate all judicial procedures.

The state-owned Daily Graphic reports that the court held that the trial High Court judge failed to adhere to the legally acceptable procedure in convicting Mr Tsikata.

“The procedure adopted by the trial High Court judge has occasioned a miscarriage of justice, as it departs from the rules which permeate all judicial procedures.

“The judgement of the trial High Court delivered on June 18, 2008 is set aside and the appellant (Tsikata) is hereby acquitted and discharged on all four counts,’’ the court held.

Mr Tsikata headed to court despite receiving a presidential pardon from the former president, John Agyekum Kufuor, years into his incarceration. The court lauded his decision to embark on appeal despite the pardon.

He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on June 18, 2008 for causing financial loss to the state during his time as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The GNPC guaranteed a loan for Valley Farms, a private cocoa-growing company. Tsikata was found guilty on three counts of wilfully causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and another count of misapplying public property.

His trial started in 2002 and travelled back and forth the court ladder until his sentence, which generated a lot of controversy. He was lawyer for the ruling party in 2012 when the opposition contested election results in the Supreme Court.

“Justice will again be found in the court and all righteous people will support it. I think justice has been found in the court,” an ecstatic Tsikata told reporters after the judgment.

Photo Credit: Daily Graphic

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