Judicial scandal Indicted justices are not running from justice – lawyer

According to Charles Kwesi Bentum, the decision by the accused justices to sue the judicial council is to seek that due process be followed in the ongoing investigations.

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The lead council for the 14 justices who have taken an action against the judicial council in the ongoing investigations into the bribery allegations against some 34 judges has dispelled suggestions that the indicted judges are doing everything possible to escape justice.

READ MORE: >  Recovery from Anas' latest exposé will take years - Budu Koomson

According to Charles Kwesi Bentum, the decision by the accused justices to sue the judicial council is to seek that due process be followed in the ongoing investigations.

An investigative piece by Anas Aremeyaw Anas has established complicity of some 180 officials of the Judicial Service caught on camera taking bribes and extorting money from litigants. Thirty-four (34) of the suspected culprits are said to be judges at the High, the Circuit and the District courts.

Disguised Anas Aremeyaw Anas play

Disguised Anas Aremeyaw Anas

Anas sent the two petitions: one dated 31st August and addressed to the president; the other on 2nd September 2015 to the Chief Justice. The journalist in accordance with Article 146 asked the president to initiate impeachment proceedings against the High Court judges he says took bribes to pervert justice.

READ MORE: > Indicted judges are in a terrible shape – lawyer for accused justices

22 circuit court judges named in the petition have been suspended after a crucial meeting of the council to consider measures against them. However, 14 of them have sued the Judicial Council, challenging the processes leading their suspension.

Mr Bentum on Citi FM’s The Big Issue stated that, the processes that led to the suspension of the justices were questionable. According to him, there was a fundamental flaw with the process.

“It is important for us to know that they received the letter on the 7 even though it was dated 4 September, 2015 and they had a deadline of 8 to respond… Indeed, some were able to comply with the deadline; some were able to submit their responses on the 9; nonetheless, they submitted themselves to the investigative committee on the 10. So how could there be a letter dated 4 suspending them and saying that the suspension was based on their response when that letter had not gone out at all… If there would be a suspension, it should have been after 7th” he stated.

“The letter said that the service had received an investigation report. It didn’t say that it had received a video tape or an audio tape report. The nature of the investigation report was not known to any of these justices or magistrates. So they were to respond to this letter without even seeing the basis of the accusation. They were denied copies of this investigation report. How do I respond to an allegation based on a report I’ve not seen?” he queried.

READ MORE: > Indicted judges must be punished – GBA

Titled ‘Ghana in the Eyes of God – Epic of Injustice’, the piece of investigative work will be premiered at the Accra International Conference Centre on September 22 and 23, 2015. Pressure is, however mounting on Anas Aremeyaw Anas, to halt the planned premiering of a damaging video.

Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Woode play

Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Woode

 

When show host, Richard Sky, asked if the indicted justices intend stopping the video from coming out, Mr Bentum answered, “My answer to this question is with some circumspection. Already, the impression out there is that ‘the justices are running from justice, they don’t want their evil deeds to be seen’. Tiger Eye and for that matter Anas writes a petition to the Chief Justice and says ‘this is what I’ve found, have these documents and the process must begin’. Tiger Eye now asks people to come watch the video. How does it play? When you are the petitioner and your petition has not been gone into… those affected may not have even seen the video and you are out there sending invitation cards. At the end of the day, those who had been exonerated, if they are shown on the video at the Conference Centre, how would they feel?”

READ MORE: > Why I refused to become a judge – Ace Ankomah

Lawyer Charles Kwesi Bentum indicated that they have not filed any suit against Tiger Eye because of public sentiments. He however advised that the judicial system be sanitized by dealing with those found culpable after due process is followed.

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