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Opinions of Thursday, 19 February 2015

Columnist: Adjei-Brenyah, Dennis

Thinking Aloud About Judicial Corruption in Ghana: Part II

The Menace Expands.

On or about December 21st 2010 I published an article titled; “Thinking Aloud About Judicial Corruption: The Search For Remedy”(Ghanawed) That piece was an expansion of ideas I developed in another article titled: “Reflections On Ghana’s Search For Alternative Dispute Resolution” ,(Ghanaweb, March 2010) This background arms me to review and redo the intractable issue bearing on the menace of corruption in the Judiciary in Ghana. As with my previous articles and commentaries, I am responding to the latest internal assessment of the deleterious issues raised by none other than the Chief Justice of the Republic; the head of the Judiciary Branch of our government at: The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood.
A couple of weeks ago, the CJ attacked the issue of corruption when addressing a Forum in Cape Coast. Last week, practically the same sentiments on corruption affecting her domain-the Judiciary, were delivered in Tamale. This time, the CJ’s address was titled: “Integrity; The key to Effective Justice Delivery”. This address was delivered by Justice Dennis Adjei (Definitely Not related to me in any way) a justice of the Court of Appeals in Ghana for and on behalf of the Chief Justice.(see “Justice For Sale: Judicial Staff Falsifying Proceedings”). In this new and latest assault on corruption in the Judiciary, the Chief actually bemoans and exposes the issue yet again. Corruption is expanding and getting worse in the Judiciary; and the brunt of the menace emanates from “Judicial Staff”. This apparently, does not include Judges- Just “the staff.” Registrars and their staff.!
The CJ charges that; “Some of us have now graduated into falsifying court proceedings so that hardened criminals who have been justifiably sentenced to imprisonment by honest and hard working Judges would unlawfully gain their freedom.”
The chief then poses the grave question to the audience: “Where are we now heading to?” The answer is definitely not blowing in the wind !
The tragedy is that from no less a person than the CJ, the charge is that “ordinary” staff in the Service, driven by unfathomable greed and perverse corruption, are able to falsify actual court proceedings, in order to facilitate the setting free of “hardened criminals.” You simply cannot make this up ! How low can we go ?
The Chief further stated that management continues to receive petitions on adverse conduct of staff of the Judiciary. According to the Chief, “In all these instances, offending staff have been sanctioned.” Furthermore, the Chief affirms that management will “Not shrink our responsibility nor grow weary of enforcing the decisions of the Disciplinary Commttel of the Judicial Council” The Chief Justice observed that management must; “Purge the service of bad nuts”
Even though, the CJ stated that certain persons have been “sanctioned” for this grievous “inside-job” of internal corrosion and corruption, there was “no evidence” demonstrated by the CJ to back up her assertion that persons have been “sanctioned”. In other words, very quietly, such perversity has been death with. “Sanctioned”! What sanctions were meted out? Nobody knows. Are these “bad nuts” referred to, still working at the Judicial Service? Have these “bad nuts” been re-assigned. We need an accounting from CJ of all the persons who are in fact agents of our internal destruction. In a very serious issue of this kind, why is the Chief shirking her duty to fully expose the “bad nuts” she speaks of ? Falsifying Court proceedings is not “merely” corruption of the most perverse type; it is criminality of the most odious kind. All are destroyed by it. The horror intensifies. The menace is expanding. Credibility is evaporating from the Service.
Where are we now heading to? No where good ! We are going to move in circles because we owe some allegiance to “secrecy” and speak only in tongues of unidentified and unknown “sanctions”.
It is quite clear to me that sanctimonious call to Registrars who may be culpable, themselves, to set good example of “sincerity and integrity”, is almost laughable when they all know that it sounds like a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury signifying nothing ! Where is the bite that will tell a meaningful story ?
So, assuming that this facet of corruption menacing the judiciary is from those staff members, who have “graduated” to the “higher” level of falsifying court proceedings conducted by “honest and hard working judges; what would be the most appropriate and efficacious response to this menace ? I suggest an uncertain and unknown “sanctions”, will never ever win us this war against corruption. Let the Nation know who these “bad nuts” are. Let us know what kind of appropriate sanctions we put forth to respond to this untoward criminality in our Halls of justice.

I respectfully submit.
DENNIS ADEJEI-BRENYAH ESQ Attorney and Counselor at Law New York.