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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Chris Ackumey is a Liar

Chris Ackumey is a Liar and a Fool!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

A friend of mine recently joked that to be certified as a lawyer by the Rawlings-chaperoned National Democratic Congress (NDC), one only has to be a junior secondary school graduate. On the other hand, to qualify as a member of the New Patriotic Party’s legal team, not only does one require a graduate certification from the Ghana Law School, but one also ought to have acquired a post-graduate diploma from a reputable law school abroad and a remarkable professional experience either working at home or abroad. Needless to say, the friend, who shall remain anonymous, at least for now, must have had in mind Mr. Chris Ackumey, the top legal expert of the ruling National Democratic Congress.

A little over two weeks ago, during the hard-won Constitution Week festivities, Mr. Ackumey had the privilege of partaking in a panel discussion pertaining to the civic rights and responsibilities of the Ghanaian citizen. Anyway, rather than enlighten his fellow non-lawyer citizens on the legal dynamics of Ghanaian citizenship, Mr. Ackumey is reported to have told the host of Joy-Fm’s “News-file” program, in effect, that it was totally a sheer waste of time discussing the rule of law in Ghana, since most Ghanaian judges, by the way, preferred to simply take bribes from people with cases pending before their courtrooms than conscientiously ruling from the bench.
Well, pressed by the host of “News-File” to substantiate his rather wild and sensational allegation, Mr. Ackumey promised to do so at the proper time and in the appropriate forum. Fortunately, shortly after his defamatory allegation was made, Mr. Ackumey was invited by Justice Julius Ansah, a Supreme Court judge and director of the Complaints Unit of the Judicial Service of Ghana, to submit his evidence to enable the judicial authorities to investigate the same and promptly address this confidence- and image-tarring allegation.

Anyway, as was all to be expected, we have just learned that the name submitted to Justice Ansah as being that of the culprit judge who, allegedly, took a bribe in the sum of GH ¢ 500 is that of a long-deceased judge called Justice Abanga (See “Chris Ackumey’s Bribe-Taking Judge is Dead!” 6/4/11).

The problem, of course, is not the fact that Justice Abanga may or may not, indeed, have taken the said sum of bribe money but, rather, the fact that the fingered accused is not alive and thus totally incapable of answering to this grievous and professionally damaging allegation. In legal parlance, this kind of evidence is known as “hearsay,” or an anecdote, which is not admissible before any properly constituted court of law. And so strictly speaking, it is almost as if Mr. Ackumey has provided absolutely no evidence at all; for there is absolutely no forensically viable way of investigating an allegation made against a dead person. And even if the accuser were able to get the alleged bribe giver to corroborate his allegation, the case would still not muster inspection, as it were, since the major link that makes such act a criminal offence is not in a position to respond.

In effect, what we are left with here is the libelous case of an alleged living witness to a criminal act of bribery and corruption attempting to gratuitously impugn the dignity and hard-earned reputation of a deceased judge. What Mr. Ackumey has, in effect, succeeded in doing here is render himself susceptible to a lawsuit by relatives of Justice Abanga.

The contention here is not to foolhardily maintain that Ghana’s judicial system is, somehow, a foolproof institutional apparatus that is operated by angels or some extra-terrestrial entities. Nothing could be farther from the reality. Rather, the simple argument here is that lawyers like Messrs. Chris Ackumey, Larry Bimi, David Annan and Raymond Atuguba ought to be professionally savvy enough to be able to conduct themselves within the acceptable bounds of their professional practice. On the latter score, the least that the Ghana Legal Council can do, by way of ensuring that the integrity and credibility of the country’s judicial system are jealously guarded, is to demand a written and public apology from these proverbial “Wolf Criers” and, possibly, have their professional licenses suspended for a reasonable temporal span.

And, perhaps, the GLC may even arrange for the professional re-training of these anti-judicial goon attorneys and pathological NDC partisans. Time for seriousness on the part of Chief Justice Georgina Wood and her associates!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: