The Supreme Court of Ghana yesterday, dismissed a legal action challenging former President John Dramani’s Mahama remission of the four -month jail term slapped on the infamous ‘Montie’ trio.
In a 5-2 majority decision yesterday, a seven-member panel of the court ruled that the President’s powers to remit a conviction covers that of contempt of court.
“The remission cannot be questioned as it followed due process,” the court held.
The majority decision were endorsed by Justices Sophia Adinyera, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, A.A Benin, Yaw Appau and Gabriel Pwamang, while Justices Jones Dotse and Anin Yeboah dissented.
Saliu Maase a.k.a Mugabe, a radio show host; Ako-Gunn and Allistar Taipei Nelson, two panellists of Montie FM in Accra were sentenced to four months’ imprisonment each by the Supreme Court on July 27, 2016 for scandalising the court.
They were also fined GH¢10,000 each.
The two panellists, spurred on by Maase, threatened the lives of judges of the Superior Court, especially those who had heard the case on the credibility of the country’s electoral roll filed by Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako against the Electoral Commission (EC).
They were found guilty of scandalising the court, defying and lowering its authority and bringing its name into disrepute
Shortly after the apex court’s decision, a petition was sent to then President Mahama, describing the sentence as “harsh” and urging him to pardon them.
The President, in August 2016, remitted the convicts’ sentences from four months to one month, which they served.
In September 2016, Nana Asante Bediatuo, the current Executive Secretary to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Mr Elikplim Agbemava and Mr Alfred Tuah-Yeboah filled separate legal actions to challenge the remission by the President.
The applicants argued that upon a true and proper construction of articles 14 (1)(b), 19 (12), 72 (1) and (3), 125 (1) and (3), 126 (2) and 127 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, the purported grant of a remission of the punishment of four months imposed on Mugabe, Nelson and Gunn was in excess of the powers conferred on the President of Ghana by Article 72 (1) of the Constitution 1992, an unjustified interference with the independence of the Judiciary and thus an affront to the Constitution.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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