Tsatsu Tsikata has become a household name in Ghana when matters of the law come to mind. He has bagged enviable high feet for himself and has set many records including graduating with a first class at age 18 from the University of Ghana law school.
Long before the young ones vilifying and hailing him today were born, Tsatsu Tsikata had made a name for himself as being a legal colossus and an authority. He has taught many justices of the court and many great lawyers in the country because he started teaching at a considerable early age.
He has litigated in many landmark cases in the country sometimes with Nana Akufo Addo as an opposing Lawyer and on few occasions as a partner. A popular case that has become an authority in the Ghana Law reports which Tsatsu Tsikata together with Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo were lawyers at one side is Tuffuor v Attorney-General.
Dr. Kwame Amoako Tuffuor who passed on a few weeks ago took the bold step of issuing a writ seeking a declaration that Justice Apaloo was on 24 September 1979 (the time that the 1979 constitution came into force) deemed to have been appointed as Chief Justice of the Republic and as a result became President and member of the Supreme Court. He also sought a declaration that the nomination by the President of Justice Apaloo, his subsequent vetting, and his rejection by the Parliament was null and void. With this, the stage was set for a legal battle. Dr. Tuffuor’s lawyers included Nana Akufo-Addo and Tsatsu Tsikata. The state was represented by Mr. Joe Reindorf and his deputy A.L Djabatey. They won the case for their client against the state.
Many people who are lovers of Tsatsu would know that at some point in his life was prosecuted and jailed. The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo was prosecuting Tsatsu Tsikata on behalf of the state for willfully causing financial loss to the state. He was charged on three counts of causing financial loss to the State and one count of misapplying public property.
On February 11 this 2002, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata made his maiden appearance before the Fast Track Court on a charge of willfully causing financial loss to the state. He refused to enter a plea and openly declared that he did not recognize the jurisdiction of the court.
In his submission, Mr. Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa, counsel for Tsatsu, argued that the FTC was unknown in the Constitution. Counsel said in making provision for the administration of justice, the Constitution did not establish any court known as FTC.
Quoting portions of the 1992 Constitution to buttress his point, Mr. Dankwa said justice emanated from the people and should be administered in the name of the Republic by the Judiciary, which shall be independent and subject only to the Constitution.
Counsel further argued that under Article 126 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, the Judiciary shall consist of the Superior Courts of Judicature comprising the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Courts/Regional Tribunals.
Apart from these, counsel contended that there should also be such lower courts or tribunals as Parliament may by law establish, and that “nowhere is there provision for an FTC or has Parliament under Article 126 (I) (b) exercised its power to establish any FTC.” Based on this argument, Mr. Dankwa’s said the FTC had no jurisdiction to try his client and therefore prayed the Supreme Court to consider his application.
Tsatsu Tsikata subsequently sent the case to the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Accra Fast Track High Court. Five of the nine-member panel presided over by Mr. Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu, ruled in favor of Tsatsu. Mrs. Justice Bamford Addo, Justices F.Y. Kpegah, E.D.K. Adjacent, A.K.B. Ampiah, and Kwame Adzoe ruled in favor of Mr. Tsikata’s motion while the Chief Justice, Justices Sophia Akuffo, George Acquah, and William Atuguba ruled against Mr. Tsikata’s application. The Court will give its reasons for the ruling on 20th March.
SB BITIAN, GSB.