Montie FM case: Ato Ahwoi convicted

Former Presidential Advisor, Ato Ahwoi, is the latest casualty of the Montie FM contempt case, having been found guilty of criminal contempt.

As Director of the Network Broadcasting Company (NBC), operators of Montie FM, Mr. Ahwoi made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

He was absent at the first two sittings. His lawyer had explained that he was out of the country after the presiding judge Sophia Akuffo insisted that all Directors of Montie FM appear in court.

Ato Ahwoi in his plea Wednesday, told the court he was liable with an explanation. But after stating that the NBC began in 1995 and operates Radio Gold, Gold TV and Montie FM, the presiding judge Sophia Akuffo asked him to cut to the chase.

He mentioned Kwami Sefa Kayi, Randy Abbey amongst others as some of the celebrated journalists that passed through Radio Gold one of their flagships.

Mr Ahwoi related his own experience of having been called gay on a radio station.

But Justice Akuffo, apparently not in the mood for stories, insisted that he offers the explanation.

Mr Ahwoi told the court the host of the radio show was interdicted and the panelists were banned when the contemptuous comments were made and the directors became aware of it.

He said delayed broadcast equipment have been procured and will be installed in three weeks’ time.

He apologised for the comments.

Justice Sophia Akuffo said Mr. Ato Ahwoi was convicted “of all the charges just like the others.”

Two radio panelists – Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn – and host a radio programme, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, were summoned by the Supreme Court after they threatened justices of the Supreme Court with death.

The Court was hearing a case brought by two politicians – Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako – challenging the validity of the voters’ register.

The radio commentators were not happy with comments made by some justices sitting on the case.

They threatened to deal with the judges whom they accused of wanting to create chaos in the country.

The comments earned them summons from the Supreme Court.

Mr. Ato Ahwoi, a director of the company was out of the jurisdiction when the case was first called.

In Court Wednesday, he pleaded liable with an explanation. He condemned the comments of the two panelists and told the Court that the company had interdicted Salifu Maase and banned Alistair and Ako Gunn as well as procured delayed broadcast equipment to check excesses in the future.

The Court didn’t find these to be enough.

It sentenced Salifu Maase, Ako Gunn and Alistair Nelson to four months’ imprisonment with a fine of 10,000 cedis each.

A Director of the company and stalwart of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Harry Zakour, is to pay a fine of 30,000 cedis to be paid latest by Thursday, July 28, 1016.

The Network Broadcasting Company has been ordered to bring to court, policies and framework that show that all of its stations will no longer be used to make contemptuous comments.