Former President John Agyekum Kufuor says the recent investigative piece by Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposing widespread corruption in the judiciary, has dented the image of the country globally, and that those in the legal profession in particular must hang their heads in shame.
Some 22 lower court judges are currently serving a suspension placed on them by the Judicial Council, after they were captured in a video taking bribes in a two year investigative piece.
Twelve other high court judges have also been implicated and have been queried after which appropriate sanctions would be taken against them; together with over 100 judicial service staff also believed to have played various roles in the bribery scandal.
[contextly_sidebar id=”Jbld25bNa7X8fyGocp0HMUrx2CM2jzS1″]Speaking on the exposé at this year’s Ghana Bar Conference in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, former President Kufuor said “nothing is more detrimental to the security of a nation than a compromised judiciary”.
“Many nations have been plunged into war due to lack of justice. Indeed, access to justice supports sustainable peace by offering the citizenry a more attractive alternative to violence in resolving personal and political conflicts. If the judiciary is the mouthpiece of justice, then it will be difficult to phantom anything worse than a false oracle. The recent exposure of the judiciary being perverse and corrupt is abominable and it should cause all in the legal and judicial professions to hang their heads in shame”.
The former President, who was called to the Ghana Bar Association in 1962 after being called to the British Bar in 1961, says the recent development has dealt a heavy blow to public confidence in the justice delivery system.
He has thus backed calls for serious investigations into the matter and subsequent prosecution of those found culpable.
“Juxtaposing the corruption that has recently been exposed to our topic of discussion today, brings so much to deliberate on because it is universally recognized that increased access to justice depends on public confidence in the justice system. And far from being prejudicial that the Judicial Council itself should find it necessary to suspend as many as twenty-two judges on the suspicion of corruption; should make us all sit up to examine ourselves to find out what has gone wrong.
“Sadly in this era of information technology, the exposure is instantly transmitted globally and it does our nation and central profession of law no good. The order that the suspects be immediately investigated and dealt with according to law is welcomed and those proven guilty should of course face the consequences”.
The former President is however concerned about the need for a holistic approach to tackling the corruption canker in every aspect of the Ghanaian society.
“One dare say that today it is members of the bench that have fallen into disgrace; but if we are to be candid to ourselves, we should all admit that the canker has eaten deep and wide into the social fabric of our society and at all levels of society. Our institutions for checking corruption do not seem to be working and it has had to take the spearheading by a single individual to unearth such a massive scale of malfeasance in society. The laws are there but we as a people have perhaps played the ostrich for far too long.
The adage is that; it takes one rotten nuts to spoil the taste of a thousand. The law is a very honorable and indispensable profession and I am sure there are countless numbers of virtuous members both at the Bar and on the bench. The entire nation should cast the net wider to the other organs of state; the executive, the legislature and indeed the entire public sector. The search should aim at thorough purging of the public sector of the society” he admonished.
By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana