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Regional News Thu, 25 Sep 2008

"Free Tsatsu Tsikata" campaign holds forum at Ho

Ho, Sept. 25, GNA - Mr. Kwesi Pratt, a Member of the 'Free Tsatsu Tsikata' Campaign stated on Wednesday called on believers in the national tenets of freedom and justice should stand up and fight for the release of the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation from prison.

"It is our national duty and if we fail to do it, then we are doing injustice to the stature and character of Mr. Tsikata," he said. Mr. Pratt was addressing a packed forum organized by the Campaign at Ho to solicit support for the release of Mr. Tsikata, who was jailed five years for "wilfully causing financial loss to the state". Mr Pratt said the Valley Farms and IFC loan transactions for which Mr. Tsikata was imprisoned were undertaken in the interest of the country and not that of his family. He said the conviction of Mr. Tsikata was an error and wondered why the trial judge linked him to the Provisional National Defence Council for which he was not a member.

He alleged that selective justice had gained grounds in the country, adding, "If you are a praise singer you can commit any crime and walk a free man but if you are a principled person working for the growth of the country, they will find a crime for you and jail you". "Let us remember that the day of reckoning will surely come and it is very near because no government will be in power forever so we must be careful of the standards we set today as the same standards will be used against us tomorrow," he added. Mr. Pratt said criminal elements that styled themselves as politicians and trampled upon the rights of Ghanaians should not be allowed to win power in the country. Mr. Tony Lithur, a civil rights lawyer and a member of the Campaign, said the New Patriotic administration was using the judicial system for political vendetta.

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He said up to date, a forensic audit report on the Valley Farms and IFC transactions requested from the government by Mr. Tsikata's lawyer had not been made available to him.

Mr. Lithur said the independence of the judiciary in the country now was in disrepute and asked the executive "to take its hands off the judiciary and allow it to do what they are paid to do". Mr. Kyekyere Opoku, spokesperson for the Campaign, also alleged that Mr. Tsikata's incarceration was politically motivated. He said given the sacrifices made by Mr. Tsikata in transforming the oil sector, he should rather be honoured by the State. Mrs Esther Tsikata, wife of the incarcerated former CEO, said she was overwhelmed by the support demonstrated by Ghanaians for her husband and appealed to them to go all out and speak the truth and fiercely defend the course of freedom and right in the country. 25 Sept. 08

Source: GNA
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