General News of Sunday, 29 May 2011
Mr Chris Ackumey, an outspoken member of the legal team of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) is committing suicide with his claims about judicial corruption, Malik Kweku Baako has asserted.
Mr Ackumey has vowed to produce proof of his claims that he provided assistance to four others to secure a loan of GH¢500 which was used to pay bribe to an unnamed judge in 2008.
He believes his revelations will provide Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood with the necessary evidence to root out the corruption that is threatening the sanctity of the judicial system in Ghana.
But the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Mr Kweku Baako, speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile Programme Saturday, is surprised a lawyer of Mr Ackumey’s standing will to incriminate himself to such suicidal proportions.
“Every person who directly or indirectly instigates, commands, counsels, procures or in any manner purposely aids, facilitates, encourages, or promotes, whether by his act or presence or otherwise and every person who does any act for the purpose of aiding, facilitating, encouraging or promoting the commission of a crime by any other person whether known or unknown, certain or uncertain, is guilty of abetting the other person in respect of that crime,” Mr Baako quoted Section 21 of the Criminal Code to ground his argument.
In his view, the NDC Lawyer’s comments indicate clearly that he witnessed a crime being committed and yet did nothing as a citizen to bring the perpetrators to book, three years after the crime was committed.
The seriousness of Mr Ackumey’s assertions, according to Kweku Baako lie in the fact that he is a lawyer and therefore bears a greater responsibility to have taken his evidence to the Complaints and Courts Inspectorate Division of the Judicial Council to expose the errant judge involved and help maintain the sanctity of the system.
Anyway, Mr Ackumey is “prepared to commit suicide, [and] in the process help the nation. Why not, we should praise him, we should laud him,” he said.
Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy, who was also a panelist, said those who argue that the Supreme Court judges’ decision to adjourn a case sine die because counsel for the plaintiff, Dr Raymond Atuguba, is one of four lawyers referred to the General Legal Council by the Judges and Magistrates’ Association to go substantiate their allegations of bribery against the judiciary, have a point albeit a minor one.
He said suppose the four lawyers are able to prove their case and are given deserving commendation, it would appear then that the Supreme Court erred in not hearing the case because of Dr Atuguba’s involvement in it.
But Kweku Baako disagreed.
He argued that given Dr Atuguba’s own statement that “I have done several cases where the client will tell me, ‘lawyer let’s go and see the judge’ and when I say no then they are surprised and I’m almost certain that some of them went behind me and saw the judges because of what happened in court afterwards and the fact that they never mentioned the issue again after I said no. They just silently went back, paid the bribe and then you realise suddenly as the lawyer that the case is moving very fast and in the end you win…,” there was no way the judges could possibly sit on a case involving the same lawyer who had not yet substantiated these allegations against members of the Bench.
Another panelist, Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, who is also a lawyer by training, was rather taciturn, except to restate the legal maxim that “he who avers must prove.”
“I say that I have a difficulty commenting further until I have some substantial lead. My worry is that the judiciary should not use their power to stampede the process in persons raising questions about whether or not individual persons within them have committed some wrongs or not,” he said.