A cross-section of the Ghanaian public, including legal luminaries, want the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Constituency, Kennedy Agyapong jailed for his blatant attack on Ghana’s judiciary.
The situation has become so serious that a High Court Judge, Sulemana Issifu, has petitioned the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, asking for a “strong action against Mr. Kennedy Agyapong”.
Kennedy Agyapong is currently in court over a land dispute, however, while the case is still ongoing, he went on his Net 2 TV and started raining strong expletives at the judge sitting on the case, describing him as stupid and corrupt.
“You are a stupid judge. I will face you,” Ken Agyapong said on the programme.
This attack has drawn serious angst withing the Ghanaian judiciary with a cross-section wanting hi to be slapped a harsh jail term to deter others from feeding off the dangerous precedence.
“Your Lordship, that, Mr Agyapong’s conduct is graver in scope and impact than the infamous ‘Montie 3’. This is because of the influence he wields and the coverage of the channel on which he made these dangerous comments compared to the ‘Montie 3’ in these respects. A strong action against Mr. Kennedy Agyapong is necessary to establish the independence and authority of the courts and to deter persons in future from acting in an analogous manner,” Justice Issifu wrote in his comprehensive petition that has since been copied to the President and the higher echelon of Ghana’s government.
Essentially, Justice Issifu’s wish could translate to at least six month in Jail for the lose-talking NPP MP.
The trial judge is Justice Amos Wuntah Wun and he will be determining the fate of Kennedy Agyapong, who has already been cited for contempt.
Reports picked up by Whatsup News indicates that President Akufo Addo himself appears to have been lobbying behind the scenes in an attempt to influence the Chief Justice, Justice Anim Yeboah to ensure that the loud-mouthed Kennedy Agyapong is not jailed for contempt, despite hints given by the trial judge, Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni, that he was planning to slam the NPP parliamentarian for contempt.
On September 8, Ken Agyapong quickly penned down an apology claiming it took sober reflection for him to realise his extreme prejudicial attack on the courts and was therefore rendering “an unqualified apology” for his “harsh” words against the trial judge whom he called “Stupid”.
The latest attack by Kennedy Agyapong appear more serious than a similar incident in 2016 when pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) radio presenter, Salifu Maase and two of his studio guests on Muntie FM: Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn were found guilty of contempt for making threats against Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood over debates about the 2016 general elections.
The three were sentenced to four months in jail and fined $2,500 each for “scandalising the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court and bringing it into disrepute.”
They were eventually pardoned by ex-President John Dramani Mahama. In the current case involving Ken Agyapong, there are indications that he is likely to be in Jail before the December 2020 elections where he will be contesting his Parliamentary seat.
US-based law professor, Professor Kwaku Asare offers an opinion on that matter: “In my mind, the offended court or judge, in such instances, should refer the matter to the Attorney General for prosecution in a court other than the one abused. For the avoidance of doubt, I am against the underlying insults, threats and abuse of judges or for that matter any human being.”
Ken Agyapong’s contempt case will be heard on Monday, September 14 in what is certainly going to be an important precedent in Ghana’s jurisprudence.