At last, Mahama pardons Montie trio after considering their earnest pleas for mercy as well as their deep regrets for their misconduct.
A statement released on Monday by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah reveals that President John Dramani Mahama has finally decided to grant pardon to the Montie Fm host and panelists who were each sentenced to four months imprisonment by the Supreme Court for contempt.
Radio host of Montie Fm’s Pampaso show, Salifu Maase (Mugabe), and two panelists; Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako-Gunn were convicted of contempt at the Accra Supreme Court and sentenced to four months jail term on the 27th of July, 2016.
This was after they issued death threats to Supreme Court judges over their handling of an opposition party’s suit on the credibility of the voters register. The three were arrested by the BNI after the incident and subsequently prosecuted. Aside the four-month jail term, the trio also paid a fine of GHc10,000 each before commencing serving their jail term.
However, the punishment meted out on the trio has raised unimaginable dusts among the populace, especially among members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). Prominent members of the NDC who described the sentence as ‘harsh’ went ahead to open a petition book meant to persude the president to reverse the sentence. The petition book which amassed a myriad of distinguished signatures was subsequently submitted to the presidency, calling on him to exercise his prerogative of mercy on the trio’s case.
The three jailed Montie staff also wrote a joint petition in which they cried out to the president for mercy, drawing his attention to their young families who have suffered untold embarrassments due to their incarceration. They once again express deep remorse for their unacceptable statements against the judges on air, explaining that they were only carried away by the smooth progress of the show and never meant to cause harm to anybody. The BNI had also revealed this in the course of the case hearing but the judges remained adamant.
On receiving the petitions, the President sent it to the Council of State for advice.
Mahama Pardons Montie Trio
Now, barely a month into the four-month term, Mahama pardons the three in favour of the wishes of the NDC loyalists who have sweated so much to see that the contemnors were granted freedom before the end of their jail term.
In the statement announcing the President’s pardon, Omane Boamah disclosed that the decision was taken on “compassionate” grounds. The President after considering the deep remorse expressed by the convicts over their action, was moved with compassion to order their release. According to reports, the three should be let out of the Nsawam Major Prison Facility on the 26th of this month. Great news to them and their families!
Read full statement below:
PRESIDENT GRANTS REMISSION OF SENTENCE TO THREE 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.) (Minister)
The call on the President to pardon the Montie 3 did not go down well with a good section of the public, especially among the opposition parties. The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) had gone as far as opening a counter petition book to see that that the contemnors remained in jail. Meanwhile, reports came few days ago that the counter petition book has been stolen from the PPP’s office by unknown thugs.
In the same vein, another group also erupted on social media with a campaign tagged, ‘Stand with Chief Justice Wood’; all in the bid to oppose calls on the President to free the contemnors. A private legal petitioner, Denis Adjei Dwomoh, had also argued the that there are no constitutional provisions for a presidential pardon. On the contrary, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice , Martin Amidu faulted the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue, saying that it is unconstitutional.
As Mahama pardons the Montie trio now, all these groups who are against the NDC’s wishes have started spitting venom at the president and his supporters, completely condemning his latest decision. The likes of Maurice Ampaw would now be warming up to fulfill his vow of going on a hunger strike if Mahama eventually pardons the Montie Trio. Nevertheless, amid all oppositions, Mahama pardons the Montie three out of compassion.
We’ll keep you updated.