Tsatsu Gets Hearing

Mr. Tsatsu TsikataTHE AFRICAN Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has officially written to the former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) boss, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, informing him of its decision to hear the complaint he requested in November 2006.

Mr. Tsikata requested the Commission to review its decision which suggested that he had not exhausted local remedies in the case of causing financial loss to the state, and to grant as well as reopen the issue as to whether “my complaint was admissible”.

To this effect, Mr. Tsikata, who has been described by his peers as a ‘legal wizard’, on Tuesday January 27, 2009 received a letter from the Commission, notifying him of the latest development.

The letter addressed to him on January 5, 2009 with the subject ‘Communication 322/2006 – Tsatsu Tsikata/Ghana’ read: “I write to inform you that at its 44th Ordinary Session held in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, from 10-24 November, 2008, the African Commission considered the above communication and decided to declare it admissible”.

Furthermore, it said that the “African Commission deferred consideration on the merits to its 45th Ordinary Session to be held in May 2009 to allow both parties to submit their arguments on the merits”.

Dr. Mary Maboreke, Secretary to the African Commission, who signed the letter, asked that the said submission be made within three months of this notification, that is, before 5th April, 2009.

Meanwhile, the former GNPC boss’ request to the Commission was that it (the Commission) determined what he described as former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s ‘by hook or by crook’ tactic to have him incarcerated.

Speaking to the media at the International Press Centre in Accra yesterday, Mr. Tsatsu recalled that the then Attorney General, Hon. Joe Ghartey raised a preliminary objection on the grounds that “I had not exhausted local remedies”.

The objection, he noted, was upheld in November 2006 without serving him a notice of the proceedings of the Commission.

He said events which took place on June 18, 2008 such as his conviction and imprisonment by Mrs. Justice Henrietta Abban, for him, ought to be attended to closely, not only for “my sake but also for the country as a whole and for the sake of reflecting on issues of justice, which concern all human beings and are so fundamental for society”.

Touching on why he still insists on clearing his name, Mr. Tsikata stated that he wanted to do so because “my name is the only valuable asset I have” and in the interest of justice and accountability.

He added that being pardoned does not necessarily mean that one’s conviction has been wiped away.

One of his answers to the several questions thrown at him indicated that he would still go back to prison even if his quest to get justice fails, and expressed no interest in either taking legal action against former President Kufuor or Hon. Joe Ghartey.

By Nathaniel Y.Yankson