To demonstrate its resolve to nip prejudicial statements and any form of media articles that could undermine the work of the judiciary in the bud, the Supreme Court has issued written summons to three persons to appear before it on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 to answer contempt of court charges.
The three, Mr Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie, Editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper, Stephen Atubiga, a member of the communication team of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Kwaku Boahen, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the NDC, are said to have made prejudicial statements on the ongoing presidential election petition.
Three separate summons all dated June 27, 2013 and signed by the presiding judge, Mr Justice William Atuguba, and acting Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr James Mensah, have been issued accordingly to direct the affected persons to appear before the court and answer for their utterances.
After their explanation, the court would then take a decision on whether or not disciplinary action should be taken against them.
The “Wanted” Three
Mr Kurankyi, Mr Atubiga, and Mr Boahen are said to have acted in contravention of the Supreme Court’s June, 24, 2013 order which directed all persons to desist from making prejudicial comments and distorting facts in the ongoing presidential election petition.
They were directed to appear before the court barely 24 hours after the court barred the Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Sammy Awuku, from attending the hearing of the case until the final determination of the matter, after he had made inappropriate comments in connection with the court’s June 24 order.
Atubiga is said to have warned that the NDC would not accept the verdict of the court if the first petitioner and 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was declared the president of the country.
Mr Kuranchie is being summoned before the court for a front page comment he published in the Thursday, June 27 edition of his newspaper.
For crossing the court’s final touchline which warned lawyers, journalists, political activists and social commentators to desist from making prejudicial comments about the election petition with effect from June 24, 2013, the three are expected to be before the court by 10 am on July 2, 2013.
The court will determine their fate on that day, according to Mr Justice Atuguba, who issued the warning on behalf of his colleagues, namely, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
Content of Kwaku Boahen’s Summon
“It having come to the notice of the Court as per a publication in the “Issue No. 4 15 ISSN: 39/11 Thursday June, 27, 2013” of the newspaper known as “THE NEW STATESMAN” that Kwaku Boahen reportedly, on the 25th day of June, 2013, on “Angel F.M.”, Kumasi made certain utterances touching and concerning the Presidential Election Petition pending in this Court, which appear to be contemptuous of this Court; it is ordered that the said Kwaku Boahen do appear before this Court on the 2nd day of July, 2013 at 10 o’clock in the forenoon to answer to the said utterances; for a determination thereon by this Court.”
Order to appear in court – Ken Kuranchie
“It having come to the notice of the Court that the newspaper known as “The Daily Searchlight Vol. 10 Number 111 - Thursday 27th day of June, 2013”, published on its front page, continuing on page 2 thereof news items headed: “Is There Justice In The Land?”
“The Loose Talkers Supreme Court did not see or hear! as well as its “Front Page Comment, Can We Comment On Decisions Of The Supreme Court Hearing Or Not? Their Lordships Should Come Clean”
According to the court, the newspaper’s comment touched and concerned the court, and also appeared to be contemptuous of the court.
“It is hereby ordered that Ken Kuranchie, Editor-In-Chief of the said The Daily Searchlight, do appear before this Court on the 2nd day of July, 2013 at 10 o’clock in the forenoon to answer to the said utterances; for a determination thereon by this Court,” the summons stated.
Stephen Atubiga’s Summons
With regard to Mr Atubiga, the court’s summons stated that “it having come to the notice of the Court as per a publication in the “Issue No. 4 15 ISSN: 39/11 Thursday June, 27, 2013” of the newspaper known as “The New Statesman” that Stephen Atubiga, reportedly, on “Asempa F.M.,”on the 25th day of June, 2013 and on “Boss F.M., Kumasi on the 26th day of June, 2013, made certain utterances touching and concerning the Presidential Election Petition pending in this Court, which appear to be contemptuous of this Court;
“It is ordered that the said Stephen Atubiga do appear before this Court on the 2nd day of July, 2013 at 10 O’clock in the forenoon to answer to the said utterances; for a determination thereon by this Court,” the court’s summons indicated.
• The Supreme Court has issued several warnings to lawyers, journalists, social commentators and political activists to desist from making prejudicial statements concerning the ongoing presidential election petition.
• Observing that the orders were not being heeded to, the court brought out its “legal whip” and smoked out the Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from attending the election petition hearing until the final determination of the petition.
• Although, Mr Awuku has apologised on different platforms, the Supreme Court says his apology appears to be calling for a “rematch”.
• The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 27, 2013, said although the New Statesman in its June 27, 2013, edition attributed a story to a member of the NDC Communication team, Mr Gabby Assumeng, as saying the NDC will not accept the decision of the Supreme Court when it went against the party, the court has been “stopped by statutory limitation.” That, according to the court, was because its final touchline warning took effect from June 24, 2013, but Mr Assumeng’s comments were made earlier.
• The petitioners in the ongoing presidential election petition are the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.
• The respondents who are: President John Dramani Mahama; the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), are praying the court to dismiss the petitioners’ claims of over-voting, persons voting without undergoing biometric verification, some presiding officers not signing pink sheets and some polling stations having the same serial numbers.
Source: Mabel Aku Banaseh / Daily Graphic Writer’s email: [email protected]
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