General News of Wednesday, 17 August 2016
Former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Martin Amidu has said the Supreme Court’s conviction and sentencing of one the directors of Accra-based Montie FM, Ato Ahwoi was an error.
He argues that because Network Broadcasting Limited, Montie FM’s mother company had fully been represented in court, trying Mr. Ahwoi separately was “a grave miscarriage of justice.”
“The purported conviction of Mr. Ato Ahwoi as a director for an offence which the limited liability company in which he is a director had already been convicted and sentenced to a fine of GH30,000. 00 is a fundamental error of law that has occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice to him,” he said in a latest piece.
Salifu Maase, host and his two panelists; Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, commonly referred to as the Montie trio, are currently serving a four month prison sentence handed them by the Supreme Court in July, after they were found guilty of contempt charges.
The two panelists had on a radio programme threatened to eliminate justices of the Supreme Court over their handling of the lawsuit questioning the credibility of Ghana’s voters’ register.
The four directors of Network Broadcasting Limited; Ato Ahwoi, Edward Addo, Kwesi Kyei Atuah, and Kwesi Bram Addo were also asked to pay a fine of Ghc30,000.
But Martin Amidu in his latest piece insisted that the Supreme Courts trial of Ato Ahwoi despite conviction of the Network Broadcasting Company which is a limited liability company breached the 1992 Constitution.
“The triteness of this law is that once the trial, conviction and sentencing of the Network Broadcasting Company Limited had been completed the Network Broadcasting Company Limited could not under Article 19(7) of the 1992 Constitution be charged with the same offences again. It follows that Mr. Ato Ahwoi who was merely one of the directors of the company benefits from the immunity acquired by the company and could not also be tried personally for the same offence a second time,” he added.
No lawyer for Ahwoi
“Regrettably, and unfortunately, because the Supreme Court choose to prosecute and judge a contempt ex facie curiae by itself, it unwittingly failed to allow Mr. Ato Ahwoi the basic right to a lawyer before taking his plea, follow the due process of law, and convicted him when it should have been trite that he was being put in double jeopardy for the same offence after the earlier conviction and sentencing of the company for which he is director. It is instructive that after purporting to convict Mr. Ato Ahwoi, the Court found itself unable to sentence him personally for the alleged criminal contempt of court. The purported arraignment and personal conviction of Mr. Ahwoi as a director of the company in addition to the earlier conviction of the company itself was inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 19(7) of the 1992 Constitution.”