Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, September 14, 2015
The circulating video recordings of the judges who allegedly took bribes from accused criminals in exchange for freedom show that some of the judges were more than excited in receiving the bribes.
Some of the judges were traced to their houses and happily opened their gates for Anas Aremeyaw Anas - the investigative journalist who blew the lid off the canker - to hand them the fat envelopes, while others got their shares in the offices.
For instance, one of them got his booty in his house in addition to a goat. When the goat was delivered, it was reportedly a tug of war as the judge’s dogs had a battle with the intruding goat which was coming to share the space in the house with them.
The dogs could be heard loudly barking at the ‘intruders,’ but that did not stop the judge from welcoming his guests.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Council has released a list of the indicted judges in the bribery scandal.
The exposé by Anas about massive corruption in the judiciary has shaken the foundation of the administration of justice in Ghana and set tongues wagging as to how some judges stoop so low to take bribes.
Currently, 22 circuit court judges and magistrates have been suspended while 12 superior court judges, mostly at the high courts, are facing possible impeachment over corruption.
According to a statement issued in Accra and signed by Judicial Secretary Alex B. Poku-Acheampong on Friday, 12 high court judges who have been exposed by Anas’ undercover operations for taking bribes include Justices Kofi Essel Mensah, Charles Quist, Uuter P. Dery, 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 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.
Anas’ boss, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., on Saturday also dropped the names of judges who he said resisted bribes from Anas.
Some of these judges were said to have even threatened to jail those who attempted to bribe them - including Anas - while others were said to have threatened to report their conducts to the Chief Justice.
The eleven judges who were able to protect the sanctity of the judiciary per Anas’ report include Justices Kwasi Boakye of Wa, Bright Mensah, Constance Hometorwu, Georgina Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe and Anthony Oppong - all of Accra.
The district court judges who displayed some modicum of respectability are one Felicia, Charles Kwasi Acheampong of Dodowa, Samuel Quartey of Ejisu, Abdul Abullaih of Tuobudom and Bright Ajosagi.
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 such as goats and Aunty Muni’s waakye – rice and beans meal sold in Accra - to pervert the course of justice.
Justice For Sale
A justice of the high court, for example, was able to set an accused hardened armed robber free for a fee of GH¢4,000, in spite of a prima facie case against him (criminal).
The identities of the indicted judges, some of whom were recently made to watch the video playbacks of their reprehensible acts, are also out.
Even some judges 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 the monies.
The Judicial Secretary’s statement explained that President John Mahama’s attention had been drawn to the issue and added that the two high court judges who had already retired would not be subjected to the impeachment proceedings provided under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.
The statement said the other ‘corrupt’ high court judges have today to respond to their petitions while the 22 circuit court judges and magistrates would be dealt with in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution.
The statement said that two out of the 22 (Daniel Obeng and Asmah Akwasi Asiedu) -lower court judges - had since April 2015 been elevated to the high court and therefore would be dealt with according to the superior court rules.
“The Chief Justice has therefore re-submitted the petition against the two justices to His Excellency the President for his directives,” the statement indicated.
The Judicial Secretary said that there was a case of mistaken identity in respect of Magistrate Frank Addo Ashitey of Prestea, who was initially thought to be involved in the scandal.
He said, however, that the actual person involved is Magistrate Frank Kingsley Oppong of Kasoa, adding that the error had since been corrected by Tiger Eye PI (Anas’ investigative company) and also denied reports that the 22 judges had been discharged.
Judicial Service Staff
The statement further said a committee had been set up to investigate all court staff alleged to be involved in the bribery scandal, saying, “A letter has been sent to Tiger Eye PI to submit the full list of persons involved, together with the transcripts and audio visuals indicating the extent of their involvement.”
He said the Judicial Service management “has on its own identified some staff, who have already been written to,” and were supposed to respond to the petitions by Tuesday, September 15, 2015 for the disciplinary committee to take its respective decisions.
Veteran lawyer John Akparibo Ndebugri, who is representing 14 of the lower courts judges implicated in the scandal, revealed on Asempa FM on Saturday that one of his clients openly admitted taking bribe.
The judges are seeking to stop the Chief Justice from proceeding with public inquiry into the matter on the grounds that the disciplinary committee of the Judicial Council that is looking into the matter was not properly constituted.
“Just yesterday (Friday), one of my clients, contrary to the instructions he gave, went to the panel and admitted his guilt...,” Mr Ndebugri said and added that he had no option but to withdraw his services and walk out of the committee hearing after the judge’s confession.