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Opinions of Saturday, 10 October 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Anas May Be Overreaching Himself

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Oct. 5, 2015

He has done an admirable job excavating what many Ghanaians have always suspected, that is, the fact that the integrity of the judiciary, in general, may have been irreparably compromised by greed and an abject lack of civic responsibility. That it took lawyer-journalist Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas some two years to undertake such heroic excavation, is all the more commendable. However, inordinately stretching matters to encompass judges who have served on the bench and duly retired from the same ought not to be countenanced by either Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood or the Ghana Judicial Council (See “Arrest Two Judges – Anas Petitions IGP” / 10/5/15).

I am here, of course, referring to the case of Justices Yaw Ansu Gyeabuor and F. K. Opoku, both of whom retired before Mr. Anas’ release of his video documentary showing these two judges to be among the twelve caught in acts of bribery and the criminal compromising of the judicial system. I don’t know the statute of limitations bordering on matters such as the one at issue here, but the fact still stands that it was not the fault of Justices Gyeabuor and Opoku that Mr. Anas released his admittedly damning documentary after these two men had effectively retired from the bench.

Don’t get me wrong, dear reader, I perfectly understand the fact of Mr. Anas’ claim to be making his call, or petition, as a citizen of Ghana. But the fact also holds that Mr. Anas cannot presume to capriciously draw up the rules of his own game and referee the same simultaneously. He has absolutely every right to petition Chief Justice Wood all right, but the respected investigative reporter has no right, whatsoever, to presume to command the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to effect the arrest of Justices Gyeabuor and Opoku. That has to be determined by what is written under the law.

If the law says that the two retired members of the bench cannot be served notices to defend themselves against their professional impugnation by virtue of them having retired from the bench, then, of course, that has to be the final word or decision on the fate of these two retired high court judges. Whether these two retired judges intend to leave the country, for whatever reasons, or not, ought not to be the lookout of Mr. Anas’. It is the one aspect of his crusade that he cannot win; it is as simple as that. What this means is that next time he has to be faster and smarter than presently. Mr. Anas should also not make the serious mistake of assuming that just because most Ghanaians are in great admiration, or awe, of his exposé does not mean that the methods employed were perfect or acceptable. Inducing judges into accepting bribes and then using the same as a legitimate pretext to incriminate them is not very wholesome.

At the end of day, what we have here is the commission of two crimes, namely, the willful and criminal induction of bribery, on the one hand, and the attendant and resultant compromising of justice as a direct result of the first deliberate act of criminality. We applaud Mr. Anas not because what he did was right, but primarily because his end of the criminality equation is the lesser of two evils.