18April2014

The New Statesman

Ghana's Oldest Mainstream Newspaper

Giving Verdict on 2012 Election Petition NOBODY CAN INTIMIDATE US - Supreme Court asserts its authority

The Supreme Court hearing the 2012 presidential election petition yesterday stated emphatically that it would not be influenced by any acts of intimidation from any person or group in coming out with its final verdict on the ongoing case.


 
 According to the court, it is sitting on a matter that touches on the governance of the country and will therefore come to a conclusion that must be accepted by all.
 
Justice Baffoe Bonnie, a member of the nine-member panel, expressing opinion about what the court sees an as attempt to undermine its authority, said whatever determination comes out of the ongoing election petition must be accepted by all.
 
“Those of you in a fool’s paradise should think twice; no matter where the axe falls,  people like you cannot stop the course of justice,” he added, referring to Stephen Atubiga who was yesterday handed a three-day jail term by the court for criminal contempt.
 
The member of the NDC communication team was hauled before the court for making contemptuous comments to the effect that his party would not be prepared to hand over power to the NPP, in the event of the petitioners winning the ongoing case.
 
Kwaku Boahen, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the NDC, who also appeared before the court on similar charges, was however, acquitted and discharged on the grounds that the comments attributed to him was allegedly made before the court had issued its final warning on acceptable reportage and commentaries.
 
The court again found Kenneth Kuranchi, Managing Editor of the Searchlight newspaper, guilty of contempt over comments he had expressed in the front-page comment in the Thursday, June 27, 2013 edition of his newspaper, and accordingly handed him a 10-day jail sentence.
 
Appearing as counsel for Ken Kuranchi, the MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, indicated that since the election petition was being aired live, both on radio and on television, commentaries were bound to emanate from all angles of the society, which might make it difficult for the nine justices hearing the election petition to summon such people before them.
 
Asked by Justice Baffoe Bonnie if he knew the implications of the comment he made in his paper, Ken Kuranchie told the court that people across the country had made various comments with regards to the court case and the comment that brought Sammy Awuku, a deputy communications director of the NPP, was one of such commentaries.
 
The newspaper editor who had sought to defend the comments of Sammy Awuku added that it would be extremely difficult to control comments that come from people
´´The first respondent, my Lords, has even said the election petition will go his way,” Ken Kuranchie told the court, ostensibly referring to President John Mahama.
 
 
Presiding Judge, Justice William Atuguba, asked politicians to think twice if they think the executive powers vested in them is too powerful to surpass the other arms of government.
 
“The Supreme Court wants sanity to prevail and not to cause any havoc or discomfort to any individual. We are here as justices to guide comments and pronouncements by all,”|Justice Atuguba stated.
 
Justice Dotse, for his part, said the judges were not there by accident and that comments such as those made by the three persons were a recipe for chaos in the country after the court has given its final verdict.