General News of Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, (GNPC) who was once incarcerated under the Kufuor regime, for causing financial loss to the state, says he harbors no bitterness against former President Kufuor for that sour experience.
Mr. Tsikata was sentenced in June 2008 by an Accra Fast Track High Court to five years imprisonment , for willfully causing financial loss to the state and misapplying public property.
The court, presided over by Mrs. Justice Henrrieta Abban, found Tsikata guilty on three counts of causing financial loss to the State and one count of misapplying public property and jailed him for five years on each count. The sentences were to run concurrently.
Tsikata was charged with three counts of willfully causing financial loss of GH¢ 230,000 (2.3 billion old cedis) to the State through a loan he, on behalf of GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms, a private company, and another count of misapplying public property.
He is said to have intentionally misapplied GH¢ 2,000 (20 million old cedis) to acquire shares in Valley Farms. Valley Farm contracted the loan from Caisse Centrale, now Agence Française de Développement (ADF), but defaulted in the payment, compelling GNPC as the guarantors, to pay the loan in 1996.
Mr. Tsikata, who had pleaded not guilty, was granted presidential pardon in January 2009, by then President Kufuor, after he had an asthmatic attack that nearly killed him.
This means he spent only about seven months of his five-year sentence.
Mr. Tsikata, a man revered as a legal luminary for his years of practice and experience, initially rejected the presidential pardon since he believed his incarceration was wrong.
Although he did not go back to prison after he was stabilized, he pursued the case at the Appeals Court, to clear his name of any wrongdoing and set aside the judgement.
Mr. Tsikata had contended that “the 2008 verdict was unreasonable and could not be supported by the evidence”.
He is therefore seeking an order to set aside the judgement of the Court and the sentence imposed on him.
In a notice of appeal signed by Mr. Tsikata himself, he contended that the trial Judge erred in law by deciding that financial loss had been caused simply because payment of money had been made by GNPC.
That case although not concluded, has been dormant for years now.
Speaking on Citi FM’s ‘Time with the Legend’ segment on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday, Mr. Tsikata told the Host Bernard Avle, that he bears no grudge against former President Kufuor.
“I have known him [Kufuor] also for a long time; I don’t bear him any grudge and truly I have seen him recently and we’ve exchanged greetings. We’ve not been close friends as it were; but again through mutual relations because he for instance has also been close to my uncle and so on. And so I don’t have any feeling of bitterness against him at all” he noted.