Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, 11 September 2015
The identities and modus operandi of judges involved in the bribery scandal that has rocked the nation’s justice system have been revealed.
A Justice of the High Court, for example, was able to set a hardened armed robber free for a fee of GH¢4,000 in spite of a prima facie case against the criminal.
Some judges went home with bribes in the form of goats, sheep, waakye meal for lunch, guinea fouls, foodstuff and other freebies, while others took as little as GH¢500 to throw away cases.
They met at places such as their chambers, residences, restaurants, car parks, hotels, shopping malls and other popular landmarks to collect their bribes.
Indicted Judges Roll Call
The exposé by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas regarding the massive corruption in Ghana’s judiciary left some judges scrambling for cover.
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.
The twelve High Court judges who have been exposed big time by Anas’ undercover operations include Justices Kofi Essel Mensah, Charles Quist, Paul Uuter Dery, John Ajet-Nassam and Ernest Obimpeh.
The rest are Justices Mustapha Habib Logoh, Yaw Ansu-Gyeabour, Ayisi Addo popularly called Saddam, Mohammed Iddrisu, Felix Yaw Badu, Ivy Heward Mills and Kwame Ohene Essel.
The names of some of the suspended 22 lower court judges have been given as Alex Obeng Asante, a judge called Azumah, Courage Ofori-Afriyie, Emmanuel Kofi Sonu and Florence Otoo.
The rest are Isaac Akwantey Bright, Kaakyire Attah-Owusu, Michael Boamah Gyamfi, Samuel Ahiabor, Samuel Walker and William Baffoe.
The Judicial Council has already blocked resignation attempts by several judges at the centre of the bribery scandal and rather referred them to a disciplinary committee.
Reports say the Judicial Council and the office of the Chief Justice refused to accept the resignation of Justice Ajet-Nassam.
However, Justice Ajet-Nassam is said to have handed in his official vehicles and other state accoutrements in his possession yesterday.
DAILY GUIDE learnt yesterday that the judicial authorities refused the resignations because they wanted to thoroughly investigate the extent of corruption in the judiciary.
Some of the affected judges were lined up to watch the video clips of the obnoxious conduct. The judges caught in the scandal are being made to watch the documentary that captures how they took the bribes they are alleged to have received on cases on which they were presiding, according to reports.
Frustrating The Process
Some of the indicted judges allegedly petitioned the Judicial Council in an attempt to block the upcoming premiering of the video that contains the collection of bribes at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The judges had argued that exposing all of them to the public would be damaging to Ghana’s reputation, but the CJ turned down the appeal, giving the green light for the public viewing.
The high-profile judges have been captured on either video or audio collecting bribes in order to give judgements in favour of those who had offered the bribes - and sometimes to the highest bidder.
It is rumoured that some of the ‘corrupt’ judges even exchanged sex for justice or were given freebies to pervert the course of justice.
Some of the judges implicated in the scandal have suddenly taken ill and are alleged to have dashed to hospitals for treatment upon hearing the news.
Justice Obimpeh for instance was said to be currently on admission at a private hospital in Accra, while Justice Quist has reportedly suffered a mild stroke since news of the scandal hit the media.
Until their covers were blown, most of the ‘corrupt’ judges were assigned high-profile cases.
Justice Quist was the judge who jailed then NPP MP for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande and handled the botched Assin Central NPP MP Kennedy Ohene Agyapong’s ‘Genocide’ Trial.
He initially operated from High Court 21 (Chief Justice’s Court) and was later moved to High Court 13 on the 28th February Road Courts popularly called Cocoa Affairs Court.
Justice Ajet-Nassam was the judge who controversially set free NDC financier Alfred Agbesi Woyome in the GH¢51 million judgement debt debacle, setting tongues wagging in the country.
He operated from the Financial Court 2 which was later moved to Cocoa Affairs.
He is said to be the representative of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), the church established by maverick Nigerian Prophet T.B. Joshua, in Ghana.
Justice Essel Mensah operated from the Human Rights Court, while Justice Paul Dery who was once with the Human Rights Court and Fast Track Court 3 was transferred to Sekondi in the Western Region not long ago.
Justice Obimpeh is at the Lands Court and handled some aspects of the controversial Achimota land case while Justice Habib Logoh, currently with the Fast Track Court, was the judge who sentenced hardened criminal Johnson Kombian to death for killing a policeman.
Justice Ivy Heward Mills, who rose through the ranks, was at Cape Cost and is reported to have been transferred to Sekondi-Takoradi recently while Justice Ayisi Addo was stationed in Tamale.
However, it was unclear which stations Justices Yaw Badu and Mohammed Iddrisu were.
Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Eye Productions, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, on Monday, August 31, submitted two petitions to the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, over the action of the judges.
A five-member committee was therefore set up on Wednesday, September 2, to look into the matter.
As per recommendations of the committee, the circuit court judges have been suspended and the fate of the 12 justices of the superior court will be determined within 48 hours.
The 12 judges have been asked to respond to the findings made against them.
The findings of the disciplinary committee also cited more than 100 court officials in the scandal. The video is set to be premiered at the Accra International Conference Centre on Tuesday, September 22.
All the 180 Judicial Service officials who have been implicated in the bribery scandal have been interdicted by the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood.
The officials were captured on video ostensibly taking money from litigants.
Some of the culprits have also been linked to sex scandals in a three-hour edited video emanating from a two-year investigation into judicial corruption by Anas and his team.