The Deputy Minister for the Interior, Mr James Agalga, has given the strongest hint yet about President John Mahama’s imminent action on a plea for pardon for the so-called ‘Montie 3’ who were convicted by the Supreme Court recently of charges that included contempt.
He has, therefore, urged the Ghanaian society to be circumspect in their comments about the legitimacy or otherwise of any such pardon if it comes eventually, since the President would have exercised his legitimate powers as prescribed by the Constitution.
The trio; Godwin Aku Gunn, Alistair Nelson and Maase Salifu aka Mugabe, were charged for threatening the lives of the Supreme Court judges during the case involving Abu Rahmadan and another against the Electoral Commission (EC).
Speaking on matters of national security as related to the Interior Ministry in Wa last Tuesday, Mr Agalga said “the power to grant pardon is vested in the President by the Constitution, as contained in Article 72.’’
He said Presidents of this nation had granted pardon to many prisoners over the years, and President Mahama had this year alone already pardoned more than 900 prison inmates who were above 70.
He also recalled that among those pardoned by President Mahama include the former Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mr Adamu Sekande, who was incarcerated for irregularities in documentation pertaining to his election into Parliament.
“So whenever the President feels there is the need to show compassion to convicts, he exercises that power,” he said.
Petitions for pardon
Several persons, including ministers of state, have called for pardon for the three who were said to have made the comments on Montie FM, a private radio station in Accra. The three have also been reported to have petitioned the President directly.
“Let us allow the President the space to exercise what he thinks is right in the circumstances. Let us all trust in the judgement of the President,” Mr Agalga said.
“He exercised the same power in relation to Adamu Sekande, so if the President thinks it is in the best interest of Ghanaians and all of us as a people to exercise that power again, he will exercise it. But I can assure you that the President will do so within the confines of the law,” he added.
The deputy minister explained, however, that the fact that a petition had been directed to the President did not mean he would exercise the power without giving due consideration to all the surrounding circumstances.
“I would want to urge all of us to put our emotions aside and wait on the President to take his decision, and at the end of the day, we will all be happy,” he said.