General News of Tuesday, 23 August 2016
President John Mahama did nothing wrong by remitting the remainder of the four-month jail term being served by the Montie 3, Mr. Abraham Amaliba, a legal practitioner and member of the governing NDC has argued.
“Are you telling me that these people have not been punished? … This is the highest punishment for contempt in the history of the country,” Mr. Amaliba told Prince Minkah on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Tuesday 23 August.
Mr. Amaliba also parried accusations by critics that the president, through his action, has undermined the authority of the Supreme Court which imposed the sentence on the three. As far as he is concerned, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other critics of the president’s action are just engaging in “emotional talk.”
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 in a Facebook post moments after the announcement, Mr. Faibille Jnr. said: “President Mahama has attacked the judiciary in a most unacceptable manner with the remission of the sentences of the Montie 3.”