The Presenter who threatened President Akufo Addo

The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Elfreda Dankyi has rescinded the arrest warrant it issued for Oheneba Boamah Bennie, a presenter with Accra-based radio station Power FM.

Yesterday, the Court issued the warrant for the arrest of the presenter, after he failed to appear before the court when the case was called.

Per the order of the court, Bennie must be arrested and produced before the court today, (Thursday, December 24, 2020).

He is facing a charge of contempt.

But in court today, the court rescinded the arrest warrant after counsel for the respondent, Victor Kodjogah Adawudu had written to the court with an attached medical excused duty of the respondent’s health from the Kaneshie Polyclinic.

He also told the court that since the case was adjourned yesterday, they have filed a notice of appeal against the decision of the court for issuing the warrant.

Counsel again told the court that they have filed a motion on notice for a stay of execution of the order for arrest and the return for that is on January 4, 2021.

He also told the court that, they have filed an affidavit in opposition to the motion for committal for contempt.

Asked by the court where his client was, counsel said he is unwell and that they have written a letter addressed to the court registrar with an attached excused duty from the Kaneshie Polyclinic.

The letter he said has been copied to the Attorney General and prayed the court to rescind the arrest warrant issued for his client due to circumstances of ill-health.

Senior State Attorney, Yvonne Bannerman, who held brief for Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame said, they were yet to receive a copy of the said letter.

The court also indicated that it was yet to have a copy on its docket.

However, Justice Dankyi after listening to all the parties, the court rescinded the bench warrant and adjourned the case to January 14, 2021.

Bennie was dragged to court by the Attorney-General (A-G) for contempt of court after he (Bennie) allegedly claimed that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had influenced some Justices of the Supreme Court to rule in his favour in an event of any election petition following the President’s victory in the just-ended 2020 general election.


The A-G dragged Bennie to court on December 17 this year for contempt of court

It was the case of the A-G that, after the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the President-elect by the Electoral Commission (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 favour in the event of any election petition challenging his re-election 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.

Constitutional violation

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 of the A-G’s case added.

Source: Inusah