Friday, October 09, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, October 09 2015

A number of prominent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have urged Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to be bold and fearless as she takes steps to deal with the bribery and corruption in the judiciary.

This follows an Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger Eye PI painstaking undercover investigations that revealed that a good number of high-profile judges and Judicial Service Staff were part of a‘bribe-taking’ syndicate that has infested the administration of justice in the country.

“We strongly encourage her to remain resolute in the pursuit of the laudable goal of uprooting the canker of corruption in the judiciary,” Citizens' Movement Against Corruption (CMAC), Ghana-Center for Democratic Development (CDD) and Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and some longstanding anti-corruption crusaders said in a joint statement at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

“We also urge her Ladyship to take all necessary measures to restore public confidence in the administration of justice in Ghana. And we recommend maximum transparency, including regular public information, in the ongoing process through the media,” they said.

Indelible stain
According to the campaigners “the raging scandal involving the Ghanaian judiciary represents an indelible stain on the integrity of our justice delivery system and puts at risk the entire edifice of our constitutional democratic system.”

They said, “that is why the scandal and its ramifications ought to be addressed frontally, if we are truly committed to protecting our fledgling democracy from collapse.”

“The courts are the last resort for the resolution of disputes and settlement of grievances in a democratic. system. Where citizens cannot be assured justice according to the law, the very foundations of our democratic system are at risk,” the group added.

Anas Commendation
They said Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his team “deserve our fulsome gratitude and congratulations for revealing this rot in our justice delivery system and providing the nation with the opportunity of dealing with it.”

“We recognize that the processes of official review of the evidence and potential impeachment of culprits are far from concluded. However, we believe the diligent two-year undercover operation leading to the capture on video of over 30 judges allegedly taking bribes in exchange for
judgments favorable to the bribe givers to have already produced significant dividends.”

“This brilliant example of investigative reporting has also exposed the pedestrian performance of many of the state agencies charged with the responsibility of attacking corruption and promoting integrity in public life in Ghana.”

Expression of fear
They said if the Chief Justice was able to handle the emerging issues diligently, “it will assure the public that the Chief Justice and the judicial establishment are determined to uphold and promote the values of probity and accountability even if the reputation of the judiciary has been severely dented.”

“We however remain deeply anxious about the possibility that this sordid episode in our national life could be swept under the carpet like so many other important national issues.”

“Indeed, we have noted with consternation the attempts by some of the judges implicated in the scandal to block the publication and video screening of the results of the undercover investigations. We are concerned that left unchecked, this fight-back could derail the entire process of judicial inquiry and potential reform of that institution.”

Deep-rooted Corruption
The campaigners said further that “we are firmly convinced that the problem of corruption and lack of integrity in Ghana's judiciary and the resultant public mistrust in the institution goes far deeper than what is revealed in the Anas expose'.”

“Hence, they would not be resolved by simply removing the judges found
culpable from office and criminally prosecuting them. Restoring public confidence in the judiciary as well as the viability of Ghana's democratic system under the Fourth Republican Constitution would require radical and far reaching reforms.”

“The obscene corruption in the judicial system exposed in the Anas video is a microcosm of the deep rot afflicting all sectors of Ghanaian public life, including the legislature, political parties, public services, and the executive.”

“It is the collective actions and inactions of these pivotal pillars
of our democracy that have driven the nation down this path of ethical nihilism,” they added.

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