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Opinions of Friday, 18 July 2008

Columnist: Abdul, Haruna

Attempts To Ambush Tsatsu Tsikata Dates Back

The drama which unfolded in Henrietta Abban’s court on the 18th of June, 2008 and now referred to in judicial circles as the ‘scandalous judicial ambush’ did not start today. I have been made aware that there were clandestine attempts by individuals of high standing even in the NDC when the NDC was at the helm of affairs, to discredit Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata for the simple reason that he was referred to as a Financial Wiz kid by the former Head of State, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings.

But I will embark cautiously to state what I am privy to and what is public knowledge. Being a senior immigration officer at the Kotako International Airport just after the December 2000 election runoff was a good time to observe the unproductive attempts to vilify and frustrate the leaders of the previous regime.

Even before the handing over ceremony, the NPP government had prepared a list of former ministers and other government functionaries who should not be allowed to travel out of this country and handed that to the immigration service and the BNI. This list was kept at the major points of entry including Kotoka International Airport.

It was around this time that I met the shy-looking but very confident Tsatsu for the first time in my life, after reading and hearing all kinds of stories about him.

Mr. Tsikata was traveling to Nigeria. Though his name was not on the list of those who were to be prevented from traveling abroad, he was heckled unnecessarily by a senior immigration officer who instructed his subordinates to stop him. But a female immigration officer who was under instruction to stop Tsatsu did not see reason in enforcing that decision since Tsatsu’s name was not on her list, so Mr. Tsikata was allowed to fly out of this country.

Several desperate calls were placed to the Castle and the Interior Ministry by this senior immigration officer who did not care very much about his open biases in dealing with this matter.

Three days later, Tsatsu returned to Ghana and was nearly ambushed like Victor Selormey. But for the timely intervention of a senior most BNI operative at the Kotoka International Airport at the time.

The fallouts from these unjustified attempts to arbitrarily arrest and punish an innocent man were far-reaching. The female immigration officer who allowed Tsatsu to travel was hauled before a Sanhedrim of senior immigration officers at the Ministry of Interior. Things came to a head when she had to quit her job then a lactating mother because she could not bear the intimidations and the harassments any longer. Indeed, she was a victim of the ‘asie hor frenzy’. The other immigration officer who allowed Tsatsu to enter Ghana without detaining him picked a transfer letter to one of the remotest outstations in the Upper West Region soon after that.

I have heard of many attempts to surround his house with BNI operatives severally, culminating in that infamous attempt to arrest him at church where he had gone to fellowship. The Zenith of all this was the direct intervention of the President of the Republic in tempering with the judicial process which gave the case a foul smell from then on.

In my candid opinion, the seven long years that this case has travel and all the drama associated with it clearly demonstrated Kufour’s determination to jail an innocent man. The frustrations of having to appear before the court every now and then; the agony of not being able to engage in any economic venture as a result and the distraught caused to this man and his family for simply serving his country with distinction is colossal.

Let us not forget that ‘what goes round comes round’ and when the table turns one day and some other group of people are going through similar processes or even worse ones, they would take it in good.

Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, the Lord is with you and everyone in his right mind understands why you must be incarcerated. ‘Fear not those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

A SENIOR RETIRED IMMIGRATION OFFICER ACCRA

Let me know how I can join the FREE TSATSU MOVEMENT.

harunaabdul@rocketmail.com