General News of Saturday, 27 August 2016
The powers granted the President to exercise Prerogative of Mercy under Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution has been questioned by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South.
According to Samuel Atta Akyea, the decision by the president to grant remission of sentence to the Montie panelists who were serving a four months jail term for contempt of court was unconstitutional.
The Montie three were released from prison Friday following the intervention of the president but speaking on Joy News/MultiTv news analysis programme, Newsfile, Mr. Atta Akyea said the decision clearly interferes with the administration of justice.
“The president was clever enough to hide under Article 72 and purported to be exercising judicial power, but judicial power is vested in the judiciary that is Article 125 (3) and when it involves the state then the president who is the head of state can then can dispense that power under Article 72,” he said.
He said this is because the president can never interfere with the administration of justice, a situation he describes as a “collusion course which needless and very sad.”
“If you say as the judiciary has handed down a sentence which is not palatable to you as the head of state and therefore you want to give some people reprieve, what you are saying is that what the judiciary did was arbitrarily and distasteful to you and therefore I want to set it as naught, that is what the President has done,” Mr Atta Akyea said.
However, former chief of staff, Nana Ato Dadzie who also represented the Montie trio in court disagrees.
“I think that you should draw the line between duties that the president performs in executing his executive duties of appointing and disappointing and administrative functions. In performance of his administrative function, he is not subjected to Article 296,” he said.
Mr Dadzie said everybody has the right to go to court if they feel the president has acted beyond his powers.
Meanwhile private legal practitioner, Ace Annan Ankomah hints deputy local government minister designate, John Oti Bless could also be hauled before the court for contempt.
The Nkwanta north MP’s approval in parliament is still pending in the house due to disparaging comments he made about the Chief Justice on the same Montie Pampaso programme. According to Ace Ankomah the issue is not over yet.
“If these three might have gotten out in a month, I don’t think anyone else is going to get out again. Trust me if anyone goes down this line, I am sure the court will convict again and I am sure it would be more than four months and we would see if any president will pardon the person,” he said.
He said it should be a warning to those who are planning to go down that line adding “unless the state system steps in as we expect the Attorney General to do and take over the matter, when the courts resume in October that matter is pending.