Oheneba Boamah Bennie, a journalist of Accra-based Power Fm, who allegedly claimed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had influenced some justices of the Supreme Court after the declaration of the presidential election results, has been dragged to court by the Attorney-General (A-G) for contempt.
The A-G is urging the Accra High Court to commit Bennie to prison for contempt of court for alleging that President Akufo-Addo had met with eight justices of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice, and that the said meeting was to influence the judges in the event of any election petition.
In an application for contempt filed yesterday, the A-G averred that the comments by Bennie were false and were meant to bring the Judiciary into disrepute.
“The respondent’s (Bennie) contumacious comments were absolutely false, as neither the Chief Justice nor any judge had either been to the Jubilee House or met anywhere with the President of Ghana following the declaration of the results of the presidential election.
“His false publication clearly intended to undermine public confidence in the Judiciary and administration of justice in Ghana generally, as well as court contempt and disaffection for the courts,” the affidavit in support for the application stated.
After the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the President-elect by the EC, Bennie allegedly published a video on his Facebook wall, claiming that President Akufo-Addo had met with eight justices of the Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice, and had influenced them.
He claimed the President used the supposed meeting to influence the justices of the apex court to rule in his favor in the event of any election petition challenging his reelection as declared by the EC.
In the said video, he allegedly said Ghanaians would not allow the justices of the Supreme Court to destroy the country and urged the military to stage a coup d’etat.
Violation of the Constitution
The A-G makes a case that through his publication, Bennie wants to tell the public that judges, including the justices of the apex court, decide cases not independently but by taking directives from the President.
Such an assertion, the A-G argued, if allowed to go unpunished, would amount to gross disrespect for the Judiciary, which is a violation of the 1992 Constitution.
According to the A-G, Bennie knew that there was a possibility of a challenge to the presidential election at the Supreme Court and, therefore, by poisoning the minds of the public against the court, he wanted to cause disaffection for the court.
“That the respondent’s disrespect for the Judiciary and the publication of false news intended to bring the Judiciary into disrepute makes him liable to be committed to prison in order to vindicate the undoubted authority of the Judiciary enshrined in Article 125 of the 1992 Constitution,’’ the affidavit in support added.