Ayikoi Otoo, Franklin Cudjoe, Nana Akomea, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah
With many, begging Chief Justice (CJ), Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, and her panel of Supreme Court judges to temper justice with mercy in the contempt case brought against two panelists of Accra-based Muntie FM, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is on a crusade to have them thrown into jail.
Spokesperson of NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo; Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, and the president of the pro NPP policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, have asked the Supreme Court to imprison the two Montie FM panelists, who allegedly threatened them, to have the panelists “rot in jail.”
But the most surprise call came from the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General under the John Kufuor regime, Joseph Ayikoi Otoo, who has shockingly appealed to the CJ and the other Justices of the Superior court, not to accept a statement of apology issued by the management of Muntie FM.
An NPP activist, Richard Asante Yeboah, filed the contempt case against the Progressive Peoples Party’s (PPP) Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), but the Supreme Court judges, have also demanded the presence of the management of Muntie FM and the host of the Pampaso socio political programme, Salifu Maase, alias “Mugabe”.
Commenting on the matter, Ayikoi Otoo, said the management of the radio station, should have known that such a conduct, could constitute contempt of court, thus the apology was “hypocritical”.
Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, was at the Supreme Court during the Election Petition hearing in 2013, and begged profusely for the then NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu-Afrieyie, alias “Sir John” and Hopeson Adorye, over similar offenses on radio.
“Sir John”, a lawyer of 32 years at the time, had asked relatives of the Supreme Court judges to start buying coffins for the burial of the Law Lords, if they dare rule against the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.
In his pleas for his colleague lawyer, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, had insisted that an evil spirit called (Gbeshi in Ga) had possessed “Sir John” at the time of issuing the death threats at the judges on radio.
But after deliberations, the Supreme Court, convicted them of criminal contempt of court and slapped fines of GH¢5,000 and GH¢2,000 respectively.
They would have served six months and three months respectively in default of the fines. Sir John, was made to sign a bond to be of good behaviour for six months or in default serve six months in jail, while Adorye was bonded for three months to be of good behaviour or serve a three month jail term.
Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, had told Citi News that Montie FM, had a reputation for incendiary comments, and that prior to its two panelists threatening the lives of judges on air, they have been known for slandering and bashing the opposition NPP.
“Why is management now acting over this issue when indeed they are aware of the attitude of the host and the producers for the show? This is actually not the first time these people are behaving this way”, the private legal practitioner told an Accra-based CitiFM on Thursday.
“As far as I am concerned, this is nothing more than a hypocritical apology’ But Mr. Otoo viewed those moves by Montie FM’s management as simply hypocritical, a fact he said all who listen to the station can attest to. Speaking on Eyewitness News, he said, “I see their apology as very hypocritical and I am saying so because all those who have listened to Montie, which is the Akan version of radio Gold, will tell you that what they do is to bash the NPP and its leader.”
He also highlighted the cynicism in the fact, the station only apologized for the death threats made by its panelists, only after it had gotten into trouble with the law. Mr. Otoo, further questioned why the host of the current affairs programme in question, Mugabe, was also not sanctioned.
“If it is now that they have gotten themselves into trouble that they are telling us that they now want to apologise unreservedly, they have banned the people from coming on the program, but what about the host of the program, Mugabe, who is well known for some of these articulations.”
On another platform; Ayikoi Otoo told Accra-based TV3 – he charged “they have been doing these things. I’m surprised that they watched that these things continued over the years. Only now that they have gone to touch the neck of the elephant and now they are under pressure and they are now telling us they really are sorry,”
“Their apology is hypocritical and therefore should not be accepted by the Chief Justice. Supreme Court should deal with them” he maintained.
Ayikoi Otoo, indicated that since the punishment for contempt of court is not defined in an Act, judges, can use their own discretion to sentence the culprits.
On his part, IMANI President, Franklin Cudjoe, described the comments as “despicable” hence they must be dealt with appropriately.
“You don’t pamper people like this, because these guys sit on radio, they’ve not done it to just one person, they’ve done it to several decent people in this country and we’ve got to deal with them. I say, lock them, put them to jail, let them rot, I don’t care,” Franklin Cudjoe said on Citi FM’s News Analysis programme, The Big Issue, last Saturday.
But Franklin Cudjoe, lambasted the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) for their press release last week, saying it’s “a mockery of the entire process.”
“In Rwanda those guys who made the comments were not even involved in the killing. People, who took the advice from such irresponsible and despicable commentary, actually went ahead and killed the cockroaches and we sit here and we are suggesting that some people have the ability to determine the guys cannot carry this out when we’ve had incidents of judges being killed in this same town. In fact the BNI should have kept the comments to themselves if indeed they were conducting investigations and they hadn’t finished because it makes a mockery of the entire process,” he added.
Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, who is vying for the parliamentary seat in Adenta, on Joy FM’s political discussion programme, Newsfile, berated the BNI for attempting to write their own laws on threatening comments.
He argued that the comments made by the two panelists, were in themselves criminal in nature and the two need not show any ability to execute the threat, before they could be held liable.
He said, “whether or not you can commit a crime is immaterial,” adding, “the threat of death is the crime.” he added.
Interestingly, Nana Akomea, the NPP Director of Communications, has twice dragged Mugabe and the “Pampaso” programme to the National Media Commission (NMC) to be sanctioned for constantly saying unsavory things about the NPP flagbearer, but the NMC, is yet to make pronouncement on the matter.
Party insiders say he is excited at the twist of fate.