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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Open letter to the Chief Justice

Thank you

Rockson Monday, 15th February 2016



Dear Chief Justice,

I have once again felt the need to write to you. There has been an instance of obvious desire by some Ghanaian working in the judicial system to still bend the laws of the land to suit his caprices despite the mastery revelations of disgraceful and condemnable corruption within the judiciary that should have served as deterrence or a clear warning to him.

Following the ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas' exposure of frowned upon corruption within the judiciary; one would normally expect every Ghanaian, irrespective of their status, to try not to flout the laws of the land. However, some people still do, hoping they can persuade a judge or the Chief Justice to side with them regardless of how corruptible their actions may be.

My love of prevalence of justice as the cardinal pivot on which the wellbeing of the ordinary Ghanaian revolves, coupled with a personal aspiration to see to the curtailment or eradication of official corruption in Ghana, has culminated in my keen interest in the ongoing Kumawu chieftaincy dispute. The nature of the Kumawu chieftaincy dispute typifies all the abuses of power that those in authority in whom we have entrusted the guarantee of justice for all, the security and safety of the Ghanaian, and the protection of individual's basic human rights, can, and do commit.

You may be aware of how Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II abused his position as the "Overlord" of Asanteman. I did post a letter to you in which was enclosed copies of official documents proving the illegality, if not the criminality, of Asantehene's behaviour, and a video recording cassette on the presumed final adjudication of the Kumawu chieftaincy dispute brought before him at his Manhyia Palace on 24th February 2014. Same documents as sent to you were dispatched to some important personalities in Ghana, Presidents and governments abroad and credible international organizations like the United Nations.

The action I took was to get the recipients prevail upon him to respect the laws of the land but not to behave as though Ghana, was still a total monarchy where the Overlord can behave dictatorially.

The registrar of the Judicial Committee of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs has petitioned you to intervene in a High Court case in which an application of mandamus has been made against him. On what grounds is he seeking your intervention to either delay or quash the writ of mandamus issued to compel him to provide to the court, or to the plaintiff copies of the forms filled in by Dr Yaw Sarfo before he became the supposed Kumawuhene Barimah Sarfo Tweneboah Koduah?

From my investigations, the Chief Justice can be petitioned by a plaintiff or a defendant on two grounds. First, when the plaintiff or the defendant sees and can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the judge presiding over the case is biased, will be based or is being biased. Secondly, when a ruling pronounced on a case involving the petitioner is adjudged by him/her to be unfair, thus, the judge did not judiciously consider the credible evidence and facts he/she submitted to the court in their accusation or defence submissions.

On which of these two grounds did the registrar write to seek your intervention? The registrar who is in charge of all the court documents has blatantly refused to furnish the plaintiff with the requested proof of whether or not Barimah Sarfo Tweneboah Koduah has been gazetted as the paramount chief of Kumawu (Kumawuhene). Failing to comply with the lawful requests, an application of mandamus was sought against him in one of the Regional High Courts in the Ashanti region.

In his appearance statement, he said the Regional High Court in Mampong has no jurisdiction to hear the case but the High Court in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital. Little did he know that there is only one High Court in Ghana as by Ghana's constitution? This means that all the various Regional High Courts throughout the country are one and have equal jurisdictional powers.

When the judge confirmed to him he has the right to preside over the case and that he was going to hear the case on an adjourned date, the registrar refused to attend court on the appointed date. He rather sought refuge in a petition he had sent to you.

As said earlier, on what grounds does he see it credible to petition you on this case? Has Barimah Sarfo Tweneboah Koduah been gazetted as Kumawuhene or not? Does the registrar possess any documentation on his gazetting? Can the public or the High Court request for information on the gazetting of Barimah Sarfo Tweneboah as Kumawuhene and if yes, from whom? Is the registrar within his legal rights to refuse anyone that information, or he is simply abusing his powers? If he is abusing his powers, does it not constitute judicial corruption?

Has the registrar taken unfavourable sides in the ongoing Kumawu chieftaincy dispute? Is the registrar not meant to play a neutral role in any chieftaincy matters? Does the law allow him, the registrar of an Inferior Court (Judicial Committee of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs) to deny a request made to him by a Higher Court to provide them some genuinely requested documents? If he has no such legal right, why then has he petitioned you to intervene favourably on his behalf? What is his intention for petitioning you?

You have been petitioned by the registrar, right; but what are you going to do? Are you going to accept his petition to block any further attempts to know the truth about whether or not Dr Yaw Sarfo has been gazetted as Kumawuhene going by the stool name Barimah Sarfo Tweneboah Koduah? If you do, does it not amount to abuse of power hence an instance of judicial corruption in the highest order?

For your attention, Madam the Chief Justice, the proceedings on this case have been adjourned sine die. They can only be resurrected after you have declared your position on the petition filed with you by the registrar; throwing his petition away.

The registrar has some dubious intentions deducing from his behaviour and intransigent stand taken on this case. Nonetheless, he will not achieve his objective as long as Anas Aremeyaw Anas' helpful revelations of judicial corruption in Ghana go. He will not have his way as long as Madam the Chief Justice is seriously determined about pruning the judiciary of corruption.

I am worried about the eye-sore state in which Kumawu is found today; lacking development, having no potable water etc. Subsequently, I am not ready to countenance any acts aimed at worsening the plight of the citizens of Kumawuman. The people need justice and peace. Nobody should be encouraged to underestimate the resolve by the people to remonstrate against any acts that are directed at underrating their intelligence.

Yours Faithfully,

Rockson Adofo