General News of Tuesday, 23 August 2016
The Council of State has become an anchor for miscreants and those who abuse their powers under the constitution, given the advice it gave President John Mahama to grant remission to the three Montie FM contemnors – Salifu Maase (Mugabe), Alistair Nelson, and Godwin Ako Gunn – who were jailed for scandalising the Supreme Court and bringing its name into disrepute, Joseph Osei-Owusu, Ranking Member of the Committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and Member of Parliament for Bekwai, has said.
President Mahama, based on advice from the Council of State, granted remission to the contemnors.
A statement signed and released on Monday, 22 August, by Communications Minister Dr Edward Omane Boamah said: “The President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, has, in consultation with the Council of State and in exercise of his constitutional powers under Article 72 of the Constitution, remitted the remainder of the prison sentence imposed on three persons: Salifu Maase (alias Mugabe), Alistair Nelson, and Ako Gunn, who were sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and a fine of GHS10,000.00 each for contempt of court. The remission is effective 26th August, 2016.
“The three were sentenced on 27th July, 2016 and have served part of the prison sentences imposed on them. They have also paid the GHS 10,000.00 (ten thousand cedis) fines.
The decision of His Excellency the President to remit their sentences on compassionate grounds follows a petition submitted to him by the contemnors appealing to the president to exercise his prerogative of mercy even as they continue to express deep remorse and regret for the unacceptable statements they made against the judiciary.
“His Excellency President Mahama takes this opportunity to remind all Ghanaians of the need to respect the institutions of state and exercise freedom of speech responsibly mindful of the need to preserve peace and national unity. The president reminds all concerned especially persons working in the media or appearing on its platforms to be circumspect and guard against the use of intemperate language which has the potential of causing unnecessary tension especially in this election year.
“The President is hopeful that all will draw lessons from the events leading to the conviction of the three persons and bear in mind the consequences of injudicious utterances.”
But speaking in an interview with Prince Minkah, host of the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class 91.3 FM Tuesday August 23, Mr. Osei-Owusu said: “But for me there is another part of the [situation] which I find very dangerous, the Council of State.
“Every country rests firmly on some pillars of state. One such pillar is the Council of State. Rather than standing firm and being a pillar, statesmen and women, they have chosen to be partisan and I regret that very much. They have become an anchor for misconduct rather than the pillars of state.
“People who misconduct themselves will petition and the Council of State will say: ‘On compassionate grounds, give it to them, release them…’ rather than the Council of State standing firmly and saying: ‘No, this state must be protected from miscreants; people who abuse their constitutional powers must be punished.’ These statesmen and women have become supporters of miscreants, those who misconduct themselves and abuse the constitutional rights they have.”