The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday ordered the consolidation of the three separate suits challenging the constitutionality of former President Dramani Mahama granting amnesty to the Montie 3 – radio panelists – Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase aka Mugabe.
In the view of the seven-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Sophia Adinyira, the issues raised in the various cases are identical.
She stated that all the cases filed by the various plaintiffs were seeking an interpretation of Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, a reason the court finds it expedient to consolidate the cases.
The judges stated that the parties should also file their agreed memorandum of issues. Asante
Nana Asante Bediatuo, Elekplem Agbameva and Alfred Tuah Yeboah had filed the suit at the apex court challenging the rightfulness of ex-president Mahama to free the three paddies.
The court further directed the parties to contact the Court Registrar for a date to be fixed for definite hearing.
The SC directive came after all the lawyers for the Plaintiffs, had agreed with the court to consolidate the cases.
On January 12, this year, Justice Yaw Appau, a sole judge who sat over the case, revealed that there were three different suits challenging the constitutionality of the former president's decision.
The court noted that the Plaintiffs in the matter had filed similar suits.
The Attorney General (AG), represented by Grace Oppong, Principal State Attorney, entered appearance and the court gave the AG seven days to file its statement of case in response to the matter.
It may be recalled that the apex court in July 2016 jailed Salifu Maase aka Mugabe, host of 'Pampaso' a political programme on an Accra-based radio station, Montie FM, and two other panelists who threatened the judges with death. They were sentenced to an imprisonment term of 4 months each for contempt of court.
The five-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo, had also ordered Mugabe and the other contemnors – Godwin Ako Gunn, 39 and Alistair Tairo Nelson 41, both National Democratic Congress (NDC) activists, to pay a GH¢10,000 fine each or in default serve another one month in jail.
Mugabe had told his panelists to open fire on the justices by attacking them with threats of death in addition to allowing a certain Nash of Mataheko in Accra to “marry” Chief Justice Georgina Wood.
Even before the trio could serve a month in jail, a desk to gather signatures intended to mount pressure on President Mahama to invoke the Pardon Clause in (Article 72) of the 1992 Constitution had been mounted at the premises of Radio Gold – a sister station to Montie FM, by key figures of the NDC.
President Mahama eventually succumbed to the pressure, some of which came from government appointees and ministers, to free the three contemnors, popularly called “Montie 3.”
In the case of Nana Badiatuo, the Plaintiffs, amongst other reliefs, are seeking a declaration that the president’s action at the time was unconstitutional and also a further order to have the Montie 3 serve their sentences in full.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson