Tsatsu Tsikata: Why I rejected Kufuor’s presidential pardon

The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, has explained his reason for rejecting then President John Agyekum Kufuor’s presidential pardon in 2008.

According to the legal luminary, the former president’s administration was bent on jailing him.

In an interview on an Accra-based station, Pan African TV, he revealed that there was a plot to undo the achievements chalked up by former President Jerry John Rawlings in the oil and gas industry.

As such, he was made a scapegoat, since he was the CEO of the GNPC during the Rawlings administration.

It is recalled that on June 8, 2008, the Accra Fast-track High Court, presided over by Justice Henrieta Abban, jailed Mr Tsikata for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

But eight years on, the Court of Appeal ruled that the High Court unjustly jailed Mr Tsikata and subsequently cleared him of any wrongdoing after Mr Tsikata filed for an appeal.

According to Mr Tsatsu; “There was a ‘determination’ by the Kufuor administration to find fault with how Rawlings had handled the GNPC and I knew it would come down to me.”

“I had been involved in GNPC under President Rawlings and I was seen as someone close to Rawlings.”

He noted that the New Patriotic Party had to struggle to find faults with his stewardship as Head of the GNPC.

“Unfortunately, in this country, when a new government comes, they wanted to throw overboard the things that had been done. I had headed GNPC during that time and I became a target.

“I could see by the beginning of 2001, the determination, by hook or crook, to find something against me. That is what led to all these interesting cases against me,” he said.

Mr Tsatsu also spoke about the court processes that led to him ending up at the Nsawam Prison.

“I went to the Supreme Court and the Fast-track High Court was declared unconstitutional. They changed the panel and added two more panels to form the review. In those days, there were people criticising the judges’ decision in my favour.

“You should go and listen to what President Akufo-Addo, who was the Attorney-General then, said about the judges. There was a determination to overturn that decision. Justice Afreh was appointed, another judge was also appointed so from a 5-4 in my favour, it became 6-5 against me,” he said.

Mr Tsikata further narrated how he did not regret giving up his childhood ambition of becoming a judge.

This, according to him, was because of the ‘tough’ nature of the job and the role played by judges.

Mr Tsikata, who has been the lead counsel for former president John Dramani Mahama in the 2020 election petition hearing, said while he remained a lawyer, he developed an interest in oil and gas and associated with the sector.

“For instance, in oil and gas, which started off from the law angle but became a broader oil and gas international experience, and frankly that has been the passion of my life for the last 30 to 40 years.


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