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General News of Friday, 29 July 2016

Source: Class FM

Pardoning Montie convicts will be dangerous – PPP

If President John Dramani Mahama succumbs to the pressure being mounted on him by scores of his party members to grant presidential pardon to the three Montie FM contemnors, it will open the floodgates for more contemptuous comments to be made with impunity, Policy Advisor for the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), Kofi Asamoah Siaw, has said.

The court sentenced the three – Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn, and Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe – to four months in jail for threatening to kill justices of the Supreme Court.

Apart from the jail sentence, each of the three contemnors has been fined a sum of GHS10000. The owners of the station including Mr Harry Zakkour, who is also the second vice- chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress, as well as Mr Edward Addo, Ato Ahwoi, and Kwesi Kyei Atuah, have been fined GHS30000 each. They are to pay the fine by the end of Thursday July 28 or risk a month’s jail term. The owners have also been asked by the Supreme Court to submit policy documents spelling out how to forestall similar happenings in the future. They have also been asked to ensure that none of their media outlets will be used to scandalise the court or bring it into disrepute.

In order to pile pressure on Mr Mahama to grant the three convicts pardon, the Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP), a think tank, is pooling signatures to support a petition to that end.

Lawyers for the contemnors have also petitioned the president to invoke Article 72 of the constitution to grant their clients pardon.

But Mr Siaw said should the pardon be granted, it will “embolden other future offenders” to take similar course.

“They are going to say that once we do it in the name of a party that is in government, once we do it in the name of a presidential candidate because of certain powers we have, we will be pardoned and therefore the fear of the punishment of contempt becomes useless,” he told Citi FM.

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