Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has revealed that he offered a word of prayer in support of Deputy Director of Communications for the NPP, Sammy Awuku, as he stood before the “Sanhedrin”; the nine-member panel adjudicating on the election petition suit on Wednesday.
The senior journalist said he was “happy” the NPP Deputy Director of Communications did not suffer the same fate he (Kweku Baako) and Haruna Atta did a little over a decade ago.
The ace journalist was thrown behind bars together with his close pal, the Accra Mail newspaper editor in 1998. The two were on July 23, 1998, sentenced to a 30-day jail term by an Accra High Court, following a suit filed against them by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, wife of then sitting President, Jerry John Rawlings.
Mr. Baako was then the Editor of the Guide, while Alhaji Haruna Atta was the Editor of the Statesman.
Mrs. Rawlings had dragged the two editors to court crying foul that their papers had defamed her, and sought an interim injunction to restrain them from publishing any further defamatory material about her.
In the course of the trial, she filed another contempt charge against the Editors and had the court throw them behind bars for 30 days each on the contempt charge, after which she failed to pursue the substantive case.
Mr. Baako, is on record to have described the one month jail term that Mrs. Rawlings made him serve under the NDC government, as more painful than the two years and six-month separate jail terms he served under the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), also headed by J.J. Rawlings.
“I am so happy for Sammy Awuku because he was not convicted…it could have been worse…so as I watched it, I recalled my experience with Haruna Atta. We were before the Court of Appeal and we were jailed for contempt. Within a split second……before we said jack, we were in prison. One month!!! Of course, it was too easy for me but I looked at my young friend Sammy and I was praying for him. I was with my driver watching and I said my goodness,” Mr. Baako recounted on Metro TV.
To him, it was significant that all the three lawyers, across the divide, put in a word for him.
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, tempered justice with mercy when it decided not to strike hard on Sammy Awuku for making presumptuous comments regarding a warning the court issued this week to deal with persons who misreport the court proceedings.
Presiding Judge in the ongoing Election Petition, Justice William Atuguba, who delivered the court's decision said, though they have decided not to invoke their powers of contempt, they will restrict his appearance to court; thus barring the NPP communicator from coming to the courtroom to witness proceedings.
This was after he (Awuku) 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.
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