Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
The issue of an individual’s right to privacy vis-à-vis the public’s right to information is expected to be put to strenuous test today.
This is because Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the popular undercover journalist, is determined to screen the mind-blowing audio-visuals detailing bribery and corruption within the judiciary this evening.
The premiering of the video is slated for 4pm at the Accra International Conference Centre (AIIC), with invitations already dispatched to prospective patrons.
‘Ghana in the Eyes of God,’ according to Anas, is an investigative documentary of judicial corruption which Tiger Eye PI undertook for about two years.
However, legal suits are hanging on the necks of the investigators and the venue for the public screening – AIIC – cautioning them to desist from today’s premiering of the exposé else they would face contempt charges.
Justice Paul Uuter Dery, one of the judges mentioned, has already filed an application for interlocutory injunction to stop Tiger Eye PI, owned by Anas, together with his assigns, from going ahead to show the audio-visuals to the public.
Justice Dery, apart from suing Anas, the Chief Justice and the Attorney General, has also sued to restrain the Director of Estates and General Services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Manager of the Accra International Conference Centre from the public screening.
Contempt Of Court
As if that was not enough, the embattled judge has also cited Anas together with Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), for contempt of court, asking for committal sentence.
Two others who had incurred the wrath of the high court judge are Kwabena Anokye Adisi, popularly called Bola Ray, Chief Executive of EIB Network - owners of Starr Fm - and Samuel Frimpong, a senior editor of The New Crusading Guide.
Coincidentally, the judge is expected to move the motion for an interlocutory injunction restraining the parties from the public screening today.
Anas has already sent out tickets to a good number of personalities, media houses and organisations that are collaborating with Tiger Eye for the public event. The organisers are still running advertisements for the show.
Some legal experts are of the view that in the event that Anas is restrained in Ghana from going ahead with the public event, nothing could stop him from premiering the controversial video outside the country.
Anas is reported to have strong ties with international broadcaster Al-Jazeera, which some claim had commissioned him to investigate the rot in the judiciary as part of the broadcaster’s global fight against corruption.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., editor in-chief of The New Crusading Guide, who mentored Anas, appears to favour the public screening of the ‘bribery and corruption’ audio-visuals when he said on Joy FM at the weekend that they were prepared to go to jail for it.
According to the editor in-chief, some lawyers of the suspected bribe-taking judges who had resorted to the law courts for redress had approached him and Anas to manipulate evidence in favour of their clients.
Mr Baako accused the lawyers who had gone to the court to sue Anas in the ongoing judicial scandal of acting in bad faith.
"You don't go out there pleading for four of your clients, pleading for mercy and asking for evidence to be manipulated and then you file a writ seeking to imprison those who are working for the good of the country," he said.
"It makes me explode and I’ve decided that I’ll show that thing (video) and face the consequences," he stated but noted that he was constrained by the rule of law.
Currently, 22 circuit court judges and magistrates have been suspended while 12 superior court judges, mostly at the high courts, are facing possible impeachment for corruption.
Over 100 people working in the various courts have also been indicted.
According to a statement issued by the judiciary, the judges who have been exposed by Anas’ undercover operations for allegedly taking bribes include Justices Dery, Kofi Essel Mensah, Charles Quist, John Ajet-Nassam and Ernest Obimpeh.
The rest are Justices Mustapha Habib Logoh, Gilbert Ayisi-Addo popularly called Saddam, Frank Opoku, Ivy Heward Mills and Kwame Ohene Essel.
However, two out of the twelve justices - Yaw Ansu-Gyeabour and Mohammed Iddrisu - are said to have already retired before Anas made the investigative report ready.
The names of some of the suspended lower court judges have been given as Florence K. Ninepence Otoo, Alex Obeng Asante, Emmanuel K. Sunu, Benjamin Y. Osei, Baptist Kodwo Filson, Issac Akwetey, Albert Zoogah, Courage Ofori Afriyie and Seyram T.Y. Azumah, all of the circuit court.
The magistrates are William Baffoe, Michael Boamah Gyamfi, Paul K. Alhassan, Stephen Asuure, Kaakyire Atta Owusu, Alfred K.A Mensah, Frank Kingsley Oppong, Samuel Ahaibor, Isaac K. Amoah and Jacob Amponsah.
The high court assigned to adjudicate all cases filed in respect of the bribery scandal will begin sitting today.
A justice of the Court of Appeal has been assigned as an additional high court judge to handle the cases.
A statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku Acheampong, said Chief Justice Georgina Wood was in the process of establishing whether there was a prima facie case against the high court judges alleged to have misconducted themselves and added that the sitting of the court was part of the process.
It said out of the 12 judges who were in active service, eight had up to today, Tuesday, September 22, 2015, to furnish the Chief Justice with their responses.
The statement said an appellate panel had also been constituted to hear all appeals and applications that might arise from the decisions of the high court.
In respect of the court staff who were alleged to have been involved in the acts of bribery and corruption, it said management had, with the aid of the available audio-visuals and still pictures provided by Tiger Eye, been able to identify 80 of them.
“As the disciplinary authority for junior staff, the Judicial Secretary has constituted two committees to investigate the various acts of misconduct,” it added.
One of the committees, it said, would begin sitting on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.
The statement also said that 15 people in the list submitted to the Judicial Service by Tiger Eye PI were not staff of the Judicial Service, adding that the report indicated that they were staff of the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Attorney General’s Department.
According to the statement, their names and photographs were being forwarded to the relevant institutions for the necessary action.
It added that two individuals had been identified as “private bail contractors.”
Additionally, the statement said the five-member disciplinary committee of the Judicial Council investigating the circuit court judges and magistrates mentioned in the scandal had suspended its sitting in respect of the 14 who had filed a motion in court, until the final determination of the suit.