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General News of Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Prosecute “corrupt” Judges - State Attorneys

National Secretary of the Association of State Attorneys has insisted that judges caught in the latest bribery scandal should be prosecuted.

Mr. Charles Wilcos Ofori has rejected calls by some members of the judicial council to internally handle the case of 34 judges secretly filmed taking bribes.

“Personally the conducts, the judges allegedly committed, for me are criminal offences,” he told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story Wednesday

The laws of Ghana are clear on criminal offences, he stated, “they should be prosecuted.”

The exposé is the latest investigative piece of ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas spanning over two years.

Twenty-two (22) circuit court judges and magistrates caught in the web of bribery have been suspended. 12 high court judges are under investigations as prescribed by the 1992 Constitution.

“I’m really, really surprised, in fact shattered by the development,” Charles Ofori struggled to come to terms with the development.

The actions of the judges, he said, have “brought so much bad reputation into the profession”.

Legal practitioners are “not angels” he conceded but remarked that they are always reminded of three fundamental principles taught in legal school: integrity, honesty and proven character.

"This has cast serious dent on all of us," he emphasised.

Spokesperson for the Ghana Bar Association, Tony Forson though saddened by the revelation, he was happy about how the case is being handled by the judicial council.

This is a “clear demonstration of the era of rule of law”, and an indication that “institutions of state are working”, he added.

So far “what is happening is the right thing,” he backed the judicial council.

Asked about the GBA’s position, he said the national executive committee met today and decided to allow the laws governing the country to work. “No commentary to prejudice anybody’s interest,” he explained, and asked the public to allow the constitutional body do its work without condemning those involved until they are proven guilty.

Mr. Forson however admitted even if one judge is found guilty it is not good enough because it “affects the morality” of the profession.

Former boss of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Justice Emile Short asked the media to be circumspective in handling the issue.

The media should deal with specificity instead of generalizing the issue, he advised.