A private legal practitioner, Ace Anan Ankomah, has indicated that President John Mahama’s decision to grant remission to the “Montie trio” can be challenged by an application for review at the Supreme Court.
According to him, President Mahama’s use of his prerogative of mercy in this case has presented the legal opportunity for clarity on the exercise of the Article 72 powers granted by the Constitution.
Speaking on the sidelines of a lecture organised by the Forum on Media and Democratic Governance on Tuesday, Ace Ankomah explained that the exercise of Article 72 powers by the President had to be tested, “against the standard for the exercise of all constitutional donated powers.
He explained that the exercise of the power of prerogative of mercy “must be fair, it must be exercise in a candid manner, it must not be capricious, arbitrary or based on bias.”
“Every power that is donated by the Constitution is not absolute and that if the test under the Constitution is not met, the court then has the power to do a judicial review of it,” the legal practitioner added.
Ace Ankomah noted further that Article 2 of the Constitution allows the Supreme Court to review such decisions as such reviews had happened before; “so many times in our law. The question is if this is a proper case for the Supreme Court to exercise its review power.”
President Mahama on Monday granted remission to the incarcerated three after consultation with the Council of State.
The three; Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase, also known as Mugabe, had been sentenced by the Supreme Court to four months in prison and fined GHc10, 000 each after been found guilty of scandalising of the apex court.
A statement signed by Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications on Monday said that the President had taken the decision to pardon the three on “compassionate grounds” given the remorse they had demonstrated.
But President Mahama’s decision to pardon the trio did not go down well with sections of the public with the Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Joe Osei-Owusu, saying the pardon smacked of partisan activism.
Mr. Osei-Owusu, also a lawyer, acknowledged President Mahama had every right to exercise his prerogative of mercy per the Constitution, but in this particular instance, he insisted that the President had not acted in the interest of the state.
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has however said any debate over the pardoning of the “Montie trio” is needless and misplaced as “the President has acted within the remit of his powers.”
He argued that President Mahama, under Article 72 of the Constitution has been given the power of the prerogative of mercy and past presidents in the country have had occasions to exercise it.
Mr. Nketia noted that the President does not need to provide justification of his decision to pardon the three.