Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
One of the judges at the centre of the bribery scandal that has rocked the judiciary says he is determined to clear his name by dashing to the court of competent jurisdiction.
Yesterday, Justice Paul Uuter Dery filed a suit at an Accra High Court against Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the undercover journalist who broke the news about massive bribery and corruption in the judiciary, asking for a perpetual injunction against the public screening of the video as planned by the investigative journalist.
Apart from Tiger Eye - the investigative firm founded by Anas - the suit filed on behalf of the judge by his lawyer, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, cites the Chief Justice as well as the Attorney General as co-defendants.
The expose by Anas about the conduct of some judges 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 for corruption.
The 12 judges allegedly indicted in the video recordings of Anas include the plaintiff together with Justices 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 12 Justices - Yaw Ansu-Gyeabour and Mohammed Iddrisu - are said to have already retired before Anas made the investigative report available.
Lower Court Judges
The names of some of the suspended 22 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-profile judges have been captured on either video or audio allegedly collecting bribes in order to give judgements in favour of those who had offered the bribes - and sometimes to the highest bidder.
For instance, in the case of Justice Dery, he was captured in his house sitting in a sofa allegedly receiving GH¢5,000 and asking for a balance of GH¢1,000.
He was also given a goat which had a tug of war with the dogs in his compound. There was another sheep tied with a rope in his modest house.
Justice Dery’s Reliefs
Justice Dery, who was once with the Human Rights Court and the Fast Track High Court Three and had recently been transferred to Sekondi in the Western Region, wants the court to declare that Anas had obtained the audio-visual recordings ‘unlawfully.’
The plaintiff wants a declaration that “the continuous leakage of the contents of the audio-visual recordings to the public by the 1st Defendant is prejudicial to the Plaintiff's right to a fair hearing and a further declaration that the 1st Defendant's act of secretly recording private discussions with the Plaintiff constituted a violation of the Plaintiff's right to privacy.”
Justice Dery wants a another declaration that “any purported immunity granted by the 3rd Defendant (Attorney-General) to the 1st Defendant, its Chief Executive Officer, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, its privies, agents and assigns is unlawful and of no effect,” as well as a declaration that the 2nd Defendant (Chief Justice) and her assigns “cannot rely on the contents of the illegally or unlawfully procured audio-visual recordings.”
Justice Dery is also seeking a declaration that the Chief Justice “cannot arrive at a fair determination as to whether a prima facie case has been established against the Plaintiff” by relying on the content of the petition filed by Anas and his Tiger Eye.
He wants an order to restrain the Chief Justice and her assigns from relying on or publishing the content of “the illegally and unlawfully procured audio-visual recordings” obtained from Anas.
The judge is seeking an order to restrain Anas and his assigns from carrying out their intended public screening of the said “illegally and unlawfully procured” audio-visual recordings and also an order restraining Anas from publishing the said recordings through any media platform, including social media.
He is asking for general damages against Anas “for the invasion of the Plaintiff's privacy."
Statement Of Claim
In his statement of claim, Justice Dery said he was handed a letter dated September 9, 2015 by the office of the Chief Justice and when he checked, it was titled: “Petition in Accordance with Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution on Allegation of Bribery.”
He posited that the letter said the bribery allegation had been levelled against him by Anas in respect of a case he presided over titled, “The Republic v. Kwame Dzato.”
Justice Dery averred that before he could submit his response to the Chief Justice, Anas had caused the publication of the said audio-visuals on various media platforms.
He is averring that if the said audio-visuals exist, which he is categorically denying, they “constitute entrapment which is intolerable in law and more particularly, in the interest of best practices, frowned upon by the laws of civilised democratic countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.”
Justice Dery insists that the said audio-visual recording against him had not been subjected to any cross-examination or passed admissibility test before any court of competent jurisdiction or judicial committee as required by law.