General News of Wed, 30 Jun 200410
Capt Tsikata issued operational pass for abduction of Judges - Asher
Accra, June 30, GNA - Mr Chris Asher Jnr, Witness, on Wednesday maintained that Captain Kojo Tsikata (rtd), Ex-National Security Adviser, issued operational pass to facilitate the abduction of the three murdered High Court Judges and retired Army Major.
Mr Asher, whose appearance at the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) had been doubted in a section of the Media, stuck to his earlier evidence under cross-examination by Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, Leading Counsel for Capt Tsikata.
Mr Asher said Lance Corporal Amedeka gave him the information while they were both in detention in Nsawam Prisons.
Three Judges; Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong, Mr Fred Poku Sarkodee and Mrs Cecilia Koranteng-Addow together with a retired Army Officer Major Sam Acquah, were abducted from their homes during curfew hours on the night of June 30, 1982.
The four were later found dead, with their bodies charred and decomposing at the Bundase Military Range on the Accra Plains. The cross-examination, which took exactly one hour, was very heated and replete with courtroom drama.
When Justice Kweku Etru Amua-Sekyi, the Chairman of the Commission asked whether Captain Tsikata would give evidence, Dr Asamoah stated that he would rely on his written statement in reply to the allegation. Dr Asamoah challenged the veracity of the evidence linking Capt Tsikata to the issuing of the operational pass for the abduction.
He said the late Amartey Kwei, who was tried convicted and executed for the crime, had admitted taking his colleagues to the Gondar Barracks and issuing the operational pass when he appeared before the Special Investigation Board (SIB).
Mr Asher, replying said the information he had from Amedeka indicated that they went to Captain Tsikata's Office and he prepared a pass and gave it to them, but Amartey Kwei, out of excitement issued another one when they were on their way. He said they used the new one prepared by Kwei.
Amedeka was in prison together, with Dzandu, Terkpor, Senya and Amartey Kwei for their complicity in the abduction and murder of the three High Court Judges and the Retired Army Major.
Mr Asher said he had recorded Amedeka's information on papers and had been carrying them over the years.
He replied that he would have been a brilliant storyteller when Dr Asamoah suggested that he had manufactured the stories he said Amedeka told him.
Mr Asher said Captain Tsikata called Amedeka and his colleagues on phone to change the venue of the murder from Bundase to the Achimota Forest while they were sending the victims away. This was in response to a question as to how Captain Tsikata called them that Dr Asamoah asked him.
Witness disagreed with a suggestion that the last rites for Amartey Kwei was not held in the Nsawam Prison but Ussher Fort and said he was part of the choir that sang at the last rite for Amartey Kwei, which he said was conducted by Squadron Leader Tagoe.
"Don't tell me it wasn't at Nsawam", Mr Asher fumed.
On the issue of his incarceration at the Nsawam Prisons, Mr Asher, said he was not awaiting trial for murder, explaining that no charge of murder was preferred against him, although he was arrested, beaten, tortured and brought before three different tribunals.
"I was in Nsawam as a result of a spurious conviction by a thief, who convicted me", Mr Asher said.
He said he was given a severer punishment by a tribunal chaired by Mr George Agyekum, which applied a PNDC Law, and gave him a severer sentence of more than 10 years against what was stated in the Criminal Code.
Mr Asher, also known as Barima Awuakye Akantang referred to the respondent simply as Kojo Tsikata. He had raised an objection on the use of the title, "Captain" because according to him Captain Tsikata had been cashiered from the Army, but the Chairman asked him to go ahead with his evidence since the Commission was not there to investigate whether Captain Tsikata was right to use that title or not.