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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Ironic Kwesi Pratt

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Oct. 10, 2015

He has gained quite a bit of notoriety for feeding fat on successive governments, especially the most grossly incompetent ones, while affording the latter prime and mendacious publicity; and so Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jr., must know what he is talking about when he rapturously commends Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his associates of the Tiger-Eye private investigations team for exposing some 12 high court judges and some 22 magistrates in the nation-wrecking habit of accepting kickbacks in order to distort the integrity of justice (See “Anas Has Shed Light on Ghana’s Democracy – Pratt” 9/26/15).

It is not clear to me whether it was Fourth Republican Ghanaian democracy upon which Mr. Anas and Tiger-Eye PI shed a light on, rather than the cross-epochal rot that has veritably been the fabric of the entire judicial system of the country. For nobody can gainsay the fact that virtually every Ghanaian government since 1957 has been characterized by rank corruption. And the judiciary, of course, is only the third and, perhaps, also the weakest of the nation’s three branches of government. The other two are, of course, the executive and the legislature.

With the obscene level of judgment-debt incidents that has robbed the country of humongous amounts of development capital, as well as the precipitous loss of our reputation and dignity as a nation among the international community, it is equally clear that whatever level of rank and abject corruption scandals the Ajet-Nassams have been involved in, or found to be criminally culpable of, has equally criminally involved members of the executive branch of government who are constitutionally charged with national policymaking and contractual decisions.

And so the likes of President John Dramani Mahama had better be on the lookout against being logically roped into the ongoing epic excavation of rank judicial corruption by Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye PI team. It would be even more edifying if and when the time comes for Justice Ajet-Nassam to reveal the identity of his collaborators in the GHC 52 million Woyome racket. We already know that the active complicity of several of the most highly positioned members of the executive took the form of this epic heist’s being authorized by extant Attorney-General Betty Mould-Iddrisu and her deputy, Mr. Ebo Barton-Oduro.

Now, I find this organic and justifiable linkage between the executive and the judiciary to be more fascinating and legally sounder or more constructive than merely isolating and making scapegoats of only members of the judiciary. And, of course, since most of the executive operatives, or ministers, named in the judgment-debt scandals also doubled as Members of Parliament, or the legislature, it stands to reason to assume that all the three branches of our government are deeply implicated in the acts of judicial travesty recently unearthed by Mr. Anas and his Tiger-Eye team of crackerjack investigators. It is only at this expansive and more accurate level that Mr. Pratt’s observation of Mr. Anas’ having shed an instructive light on Ghanaian democracy becomes incontrovertible.

I, however, do not necessarily believe that this particular exposé has shed for us any more light than past ones that did not involve the judiciary but the other two branches of government. We know quite well that President Nkrumah did a seismic lot to effectively undermine the integrity of the country’s judicial system. A typical example was Nkrumah’s decision to summarily dismiss then-Chief Justice Arku Korsah and Associate Justices Van Lare and Akufo-Addo in the Kulungugu Affair. The verdict had not gone the manner expected by the President, who had proceeded to obtain a blanket authority to both appoint and dismiss Supreme Court judges at his pleasure. This is the one aspect of the untold and primitive corruption of the judiciary that the Nkrumacrats would rather not discuss.

And so, yes, Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas has done quite a bit to expose rank corruption in government, as Mr. Pratt would have the rest of the country and the world believe, but it is only déjà-vu, or merely more of the same.