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Sammy Awuku: I “Choked” On My Drink When Atuguba Declared Me “Wanted” On TV   
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Embattled Deputy Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammy Awuku, who on Wednesday was barred from attending Supreme Court proceedings of the ongoing Election Petition trial, has revealed that he choked on his drink when Justice William Atuguba, President of the court, began an ominous search for him by mentioning his name as having disrespected a warning the court issued this week to deal with persons who misreport the court proceedings.

An obviously contrite Awuku, who claimed he was drinking tea whiles monitoring proceedings on television at home, said he had the shock of his life upon hearing his name being called out by the Presiding Judge resulting in him nearly choking on the drink.

It will be recalled that on Monday, 24th June, the Court issued what it termed as its "final" warning to the media and party representatives that it would not hesitate in handing down sanctions to anyone found culpable of “twisting” and “spinning” information in relation to the court proceedings.

Justice William Atuguba who issued the warning said the “uncontrolled power” that had been acquired by the media and party representatives would be “halted” if they continued to present “unacceptable” statements to the consuming public.

It was the third time the court had issued a warning to both the media and the parties since the petition got underway, warning over inexactitudes in the manner proceedings were reported or the manipulation of same.

But on PeaceFM's "Kokrokoo" Morning Show on Tuesday, June 25th, the NPP's Dep Dir of Communications described the court’s warning as “hypocritical and selective”.

To him, the nine-member panel led by Justice Atuguba was choosy in citing precisely the report by the Daily Guide newspaper that some boxes containing pink sheets in his custody had been retrieved, adding that the warning seemed to sideline the NPP and pro-NPP newspapers.

He cited instances where members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had made pre-judicial statements and thought it unfair that Justice Atuguba did not mentioned them as well.

“Dela Edem is sitting in the studio saying that the court petition is a waste of time. If you cannot control the NDC panelist in the studio then it’s unfair. He has already judged the case. The president who is a party to the issues in court says he won freely, clearly; and he went back to his party headquarters saying that the court would judge in his favour. Does that mean we are there for showmanship?”

“Kakra Asamoah, a member of the NDC communications team said if the NPP won this case he would support a coup d’état. This order did not come…Gabby Asumeng said on OK FM that if Nana is declared winner on the face of the pink sheet there would be civil war in Ghana. The Alhajj, Informer, Network Herald all report on the court proceedings. Is it only Daily Guide that reports on the court proceedings?” he asked.

Mr Awuku further noted that the Supreme Court judges were democrats and thus should be opened up for criticisms on their decisions.

But his remarks did not go down well with the judges; thus on Wednesday, as the court sat to continue the hearing of the election petition challenging the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, President of the Nine-member panel of judges adjudicating on the case, Justice William Atuguba, specifically mentioned Sammy Awuku's name and asked if he was in court.

He explained that the Court had been informed of his (Awuku's) comments and interpretation of its decisions at the last sitting on Monday.

Justice William Atuguba
Speaking to the issue in an interview with Kaba, host of Asempa FM’s “Ekosi Sen” programme, he said, “…I was watching the trial on television when I heard my name and I choked on the tea I was drinking.”

The NPP Communicator then decided to personally turn himself in after the court declared him "wanted". He rendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for describing the Bench as “hypocritical and selective” in its reprimand of errant commentators and reportage by both the media and political analysts when he appeared before the court Wednesday afternoon.

He withdrew his choice of words in open court which he used to describe the Court’s earlier warnings by saying he was wrong; and pledged to the Court that he would apologise on Peacefm this evening at 6pm.

“My Lords I apologise unreservedly for any embarrassment my comments may have caused the Court”, Mr. Awuku remorsefully said in Court on Wednesday June 26, 2013.

After counsel on both sides pleaded on his behalf that he be dealt with leniently for his show of remorse, the court retired to deliberate over whether to apply sanctions or not.

After nearly an hour of pondering over the issue, the court decided to temper justice with mercy by not striking too hard on him (Awuku) for making those comments deemed to be contemptuous.

Justice William Atuguba, who delivered the court's decision, however banned the NPP communicator from coming to the courtroom to witness proceedings.

Expressing his appreciation to counsels for the petitioners and respondents for intervening in his plea and gratitude to party members for their faith, Sammy Awuku indicated his willingness to continue working diligently for the party.

“My commitment to the party will not stop. The party is still strong and I don’t think I’m shaken....I don’t think it has shaken me. Rather when you say something about someone and he or she expresses displeasure about your comment, you retract and apologise...

“...The night might be long but the day will definitely come when we will benefit from the work we have done…My commitment to the party will not stop,” Sammy Awuku added.
Source: Prince Obimpeh/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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