Ghanaian murders report 'was unfair'

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The Independent Online
COUNSEL for Ghana's head of national security yesterday accused the Independent of unfairness and bias in reporting an inquiry finding that Kojo Tsikata 'masterminded' the kidnap and murder of three of the country's high court judges, writes Mary Braid.

The newspaper reported that while Mr Tsikata was one of ten people recommended for prosecution by the special independent inquiry into the murders, no action was taken against him. Five of those named were executed.

At the High Court, Michael Tugendhat QC claimed the Independent's comments about Mr Tsikata, in a 1992 report on attempts to restore democracy in Ghana, had libelled his client. He said it failed to mention that the country's attorney-general had concluded there was no evidence against Mr Tsikata which would justify prosecution and that a man executed for the 1982 murders withdrew allegations implicating him before facing a firing squad.

Mr Tugendhat claimed that the story had implied that Mr Tsikata, right-hand man to Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, Ghana's military ruler, was guilty of murder and should have been prosecuted. But he claimed the case against his client had rested entirely on 'confused and contradictory' allegations, later retracted.

Mr Tugendhat said that Mr Tsikata's accuser had refused to repeat his allegations under oath.

The Independent denies libel and says its report was fair and accurate and covered by privilege. Richard Dowden, diplomatic editor, argued that it was right to give more weight to the findings of an inquiry led by a former chief justice. The case is due to end today.