Businessman, Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome has jumped into the debate of whether or not the Montie 3 should be granted a presidential pardon and argued that the procedure the Supreme Court used to convict and sentence the three was "wrong".
In an interview with TV Gold, Mr Woyome argued that the Supreme Court “erred bitterly” in the whole matter and that the only solution to undo the wrong was for President John Mahama to invoke his powers of mercy under Article 72 of the 1992 constitution.
Throwing his support for the “Free Montie 3 Movement,” Mr Woyome contended that the 1992 constitution was carefully written bearing in mind that, “if there was judicial tyranny or mistake, the President could use his powers under Article 72."
His argument is that the President was elected by the people and the constitution was also written by the people and therefore does not understand why anybody should look at it as political.
The Supreme Court last Wednesday sent a strong warning to people who make irresponsible comments on media platforms by sentencing two radio panelists and a programme host to four months’ imprisonment each for scandalising the court.
The two panellists, Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, and the host, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, were also made to pay GH¢10,000 each fine. If they had defaulted the fine, they would have served an additional one month each in prison.
The two panellists, spurred on by Maase, threatened the lives of judges of the superior court, especially those who heard the case on the credibility of the country’s electoral roll filed by Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako against the Electoral Commission (EC).
The directors of Network Broadcasting Company Limited (NBCL), operators of Montie FM, the radio station where the comments were made, and ZeZe Media, owners of the station frequency, were also made to pay a fine of Ghc30,000 after they were also convicted for contempt of the apex court.
Their lawyers have subsequently petitioned President Mahama to pardon them so as to prevent them from serving the custodial sentence and this has elicited a debate as to whether the President should grant the pardon by exercising his prerogative of mercy, as stated in Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution.
A petition book to solicit signatures of members of the public and sympathisers to back the petition has been opened a number of people including Ministers of State and members from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have appended their signatures to support the proposed petition.
'Kufuor also did it' - Woyome
Contributing to the debate, Mr Woyome alleged that former President Kufuor also granted pardon to his party [NPP] people but did not give an example to back his allegation.
“The President [Kufuor] has invoked it before when it mattered for the NPP. It was invoked nobody talked, why."
According to Mr Woyome, the convicts showed remorse and therefore shouldn’t have been put in jail.
He said the sentence does not mean that they should be gagged. ”I am telling all journalists including 'Montie' that they can never be gagged. Don’t even feel that you have been gagged.”
He said the issue was that the process was wrong. “I’m also amazed that the lawyers were asking all of them to say that ‘we are guilty. We are not guilty of anything because the process is wrong in the first place. The process is completely wrong,” he said.
'AG should have acted'
To him, the Attorney General should have taken up the matter as it has always done in many matters including his [Woyome] own case.
“The AG should have done something and I agree with Justice Sophia that the AG should have acted, I agree with that aspect. Because this also gave them the chance, I mean if I am the one and you bring the person to me I will be so angry and I can make a mistake.”
“I’m saying that the Supreme Court has erred in this ruling, they have erred and erred bitterly. The only solution to put everything back is for us all to be happy in this country and the Supreme Court also to be happy is for the President to exercise his right under Article 72, I don’t think it is going to hurt anybody. If people are on radio and on TV being partisan, I’m not part of that. The issue is that all these lawyers of this country and judges know that the process is wrong and that the Supreme Court has erred. That is why I am here to try to gently tell my president that he should reflect, it is not a force, the people who are expressing their sentiments, some could be emotional, some could be saying anything but I think that for the good of this country, Article 72 must be invoked to serve as precedent. It checks everything."
Writer's email: [email protected]
Watch Mr Woyome's interview with TV Gold here