A Sunyani-based lawyer has filed a fresh suit in court challenging the powers of the president under Article 72, with the ultimate aim of reversing the remission of three persons jailed for contempt.
Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution gives the president the power to grant pardon or remit sentences of persons serving various jail terms, but Alfred Tuah–Yeboah is arguing that those convicted for contempt do not qualify for remission.
He is therefore praying the court to reverse an order issued by President John Mahama to grant freedom to three contemnors – Godwin Ako Gunn, Alistair Nelson and Salifu Maase alias Mugabe.
The three were released from prison Friday, August 26, 2016 after the president in a statement on Monday granted them remission. They were serving four months jail term after being found guilty by the Supreme Court for issuing death threats on justices of the apex court.
In a suit filed on August 26, Mr Tuah-Yeboah sought “A declaration that upon a true and proper construction and / or interpretation of Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the power of the President of the Republic of Ghana to exercise prerogative of mercy is limited to criminal convictions and convictions from contempt proceedings initiated by the Attorney General of the Republic of Ghana only.”
The legal practitioner therefore asked the Supreme Court to declare the remission granted by the president, “void and of no legal effect,” “An order of the Honourable Court reversing the remission of sentence which was granted to the three (3) persons mentioned supra and the said convicts be made to serve the remaining prison terms,” he said in his writ.
“Your Lordships, the Judiciary is the only arm of Government that has been preserved since independence even in the adversities of Military rule. This tradition must be continued and hence any power of the President that seeks to assault the power of the Court to punish for contempt, by regard to Article 72 must be fiercely resisted.
For if this power is left at the mercy of the President, our fledgling democracy may not stand the test of time,” Tuah-Yeboah prayed.