President John Dramani Mahama has granted the three Montie contemnors remission of the remainder of the prison sentence, following calls on him to exercise his prerogative of mercy on the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court.
Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gun and Salifu Maase, aka Mugabe, were sentenced to serve a 4-month jail term at the Nsawam prisons for scandalizing the courts, lowering its authority and bringing its name into disrepute.
In a communication released on Monday August 22. Minister of Communications Mr Edward Omane Boamah said “the decision of His Excellency the President to remit their sentences on compassionate grounds follows a petition submitted to him by the contemnors…”
Many including the flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom have argued against the president granting the three mercy saying it would be an abuse of his powers.
But former Attorney general and Minister for Justice Martin Amidu argues otherwise saying the Supreme Court judgement on the three was unconstitutional.
“As for the argument that it will be an interference with the independence of the judiciary to grant any pardon, I will like the proponents of that doctrine to tell the whole world which exercise of the president’s powers of pardon cannot be said to be an interference with judicial independence in the sense that it pardons convictions and/or sentences already imposed in exercise of the court’s judicial power. That is why it is a prerogative of mercy! : to “grant to a person convicted of an offence a pardon”…. Etc.” he wrote on a release on Wednesday August 17, 2016.
The three will be released on August 26, 2016.
The president has however asked Ghanaians to learn from this instance be decorous in their expression especially on air.
Read full statement below.
PRESIDENT GRANTS REMISSION OF SENTENCE TO THREEE CONTEMNORS
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 remaining prison sentence imposed on three persons: Salifu Maase (alias Mugabe), Alistair Nelson and Ako Gunn who were sentenced to 4 months imprisonment and a fine of GHȻ10,000.00 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 GHȻ10,000.00 (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.
EDWARD K. OMANE BOAMAH (DR.)