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General News of Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Source: The Finder

Judges set to sue Chief Justice

While pressure is mounting on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to commence criminal prosecution of judges dismissed in the judicial corruption scandal, some lower court judges are preparing to sue the Chief Justice for refusing their request for a copy of the report of the committee that investigated the matter and recommended their removal from office.

The judges will be praying the court to order the Judicial Service and the Chief Justice to give them a copy of the report of the investigative committee that sat on the case.

Some lower court judges dismissed as a result of the fallout from Anas Aremeyaw Anas' investigations into judicial corruption have applied to the Judicial Service for a copy of the report of the investigative committee but have been denied access.

A letter signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex Opoku Acheampong, said he has been instructed not to give them the report because the report is a confidential document of the Judicial Service.

“I have instructions to inform you that management is unable to grant your request as the report and proceedings of the Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Service Council are confidential”, the letter to one of the judges said.

The affected judges believe that if the Judicial Service has publicised their dismissal, it will not be out of place to give them copies of the report or even publicise the final report.

They argue that the decision not to give them the report is against the principle of natural justice since they deserve to know the full findings made against them by the committee.

Some lawyers The Finder spoke to disagreed with the Judicial Service.

According to them, the record of proceedings is confidential but certainly not confidential to parties directly affected and who participated in the disciplinary process, not as third parties but affected parties.

The lawyers explained that the committee of the Judicial Council for purposes of investigating lower court judges or the committee of the Chief Justice for purposes of investigating superior court judges is not a court or, for that matter, a final court of justice.

They stated that it is an administrative body whose findings are subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court for orders such as certiorari to quash them.

“How can an affected person exercise his right to question the outcome of either committee in court as allowed by law if they don't get the proceedings?” one of the lawyers queried.

20 Lower court judges sacked

Made up of eight Circuit Court Judges and 13 District Magistrates, they were removed for stated misbehaviour under Article 151 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.

Some of them were removed from office without their end-of-service benefits and others with benefits.

Without Benefits

His Honour Benjamin Y. Osei – Circuit Court, Juaben

Her Honour Florence Otoo Ninepence – Circuit Court, Tema

His Honour Isaac B. Akwantey – Circuit Court, Wa

His Honour Alex Obeng Asante – Circuit Court, Tarkwa

His Honour Emmanuel K. Sunu – Circuit Court, Bolgatanga

His Honour Baptist Kwadwo Filson – Circuit Court, Bibiani

His Honour Emmanuel Opare – Circuit Court, Techiman

His Worship Samuel Ahiabor – District Court, Adidome

His Worship William Baffoe – District Court, Cape Coast

His Worship Michael Boamah Gyamfi – District Court, Mampongteng

His Worship Jacob Amponsah – District Court, Ejisu

His Worship Frank Kingsley Oppong – District Court, Kasoa

His Worship Samuel Esselwalker – District Court, Bolgatanga

His Worship Alfred K.A. Mensah – District Court, Somanya

With Benefits

His Honour Seyram Tsatsu Azumah – Circuit Court, Akropong

His Worship Paul K. Alhassan – District Court, Agona

His Worship Albert Zoogah – District Court, Ashaiman

His Worship Courage Ofori Afriyie – District Court, Offinso

3 High Court judges sacked

Flamboyant Judge Ajet-Nasam, together with Justice Ernest Obimpeh, has been sacked by President John Mahama as Justices of the High Court on grounds of stated misbehaviour.

The President has also directed His Lordship Justice Ringo Cass Akurugu Azumah to vacate his post on grounds of stated incompetence and misbehaviour.