General News of Thu, 7 Jun 201810

Court to decide on judgement date for Montie trio pardon challenge

The Supreme Court will, on October 23, 2018, decide when to deliver its judgement on the legal action challenging the decision of former President John Dramani Mahama to pardon the ‘Montie’ trio.

On that day, the court will hear the oral submission (if any) of the lawyers representing the three applicants and then fix a date to give its judgement.

Lawyers for the applicants — Nana Asante Bediatuo, the current Executive Secretary to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Mr Elikplim Agbemava and Mr Alfred Tuah-Yeboah — have already filed their legal arguments as directed by the court.

The case is being heard by a seven-member panel of the court, presided over by Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira.

Other members of the panel are Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice A. A. Benin, Mr Justice Yaw Appau and Mr Justice Gabriel Pwamang.

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Applicants’ case

In 2016, the applicants initiated separate legal actions praying the Supreme Court to reverse former President Mahama’s decision to remit the sentences of Salifu Maase, aka Mugabe; Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn from four months to one month.

The Supreme Court consolidated the three suits in 2017 and ordered the three parties to file a memorandum of issues for the court’s consideration.

The applicants are arguing 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 of Ghana.

They are, accordingly, seeking an order declaring as null, void and of no legal effect the purported grant of a remission by the former President of the punishment of four months imposed on the three persons, duly held by the Supreme Court, for having acted in contempt of the Supreme Court.

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“Montie trio” saga

Maase, a radio show host; Ako-Gunn and Nelson, two panellists, 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.

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Directors of Network Broadcasting Company Limited (NBCL), operators of Montie FM, the radio station where the comments were made, and ZeZe Media, owners of the station frequency, were also fined GH¢30,000 each.

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.

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