General News of Friday, 26 August 2016
A retired army officer bemused by the remission of sentence to the ‘Montie 3’ men has stated unequivocally that a person who uses discretionary powers arbitrarily is not worth holding discretion.
Captain Budu Koomson does not understand how a president will grant remission of sentence to the three men whose conduct he described as “buffoonery.”
“I have never been a president and I don’t think the years left God has given me I will ever be a president. But I always warn, discretion is given to people who have discretion. And if you use discretionary powers arbitrarily then you are not worthy to hold a discretion,” Captain Budu said.
A presenter at Accra based Montie FM Salifu Maase, and two panelists on his political show, Godwin Ako-Gunn and Alistair Nelson were found guilty of contempt and jailed for four months.
They had threatened to kill judges of the Supreme Court if a case brought against the Electoral Commission did not go their way.
They also threatened to rape the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
The three and the directors of Montie FM were hauled before the judges to answer why they should not be held liable for contempt.
They pleaded guilty to the charge and accordingly sentenced to a four month jail term.
There were mixed reactions that greeted the sentence. Whilst some welcomed the sentence, others criticised it as harsh.
Those, mostly followers of the NDC, began a petition signing campaign to have the president activate his powers of mercy under Article 72 of the constitution and have the contemnors freed.
Members of the NDC jubilating the release of the three
The president did. He released the three under his powers of remission granted him under Article 72.
That decision too came with mixed reactions. Supporters of the NDC are jubilating, dancing and praising the president for granting their wish. But others are angered by it.
Captain Budu Koomson is one of those who is not amused by the action of the president.
He said the four month jail term given to the contemnors, out of a possible three years, was even lenient and wondered how anybody would consider a remission of their sentence.
“These people were so deliberately repugnant. It was the height of indiscipline. And remember. We have the history of judges being murdered in the most brutal form. That is what makes it even more frightening and repugnant.
“And for somebody purportedly supporting the government of the day going back to that barbaric incident, and threatening it, it’s the height of bravery buffoonery or irresponsibility.
He said the four month jail term out of three years “was a slap on the wrist” and the remission given them by the president was “dangerous.”