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Opinions of Thursday, 11 February 2016

Columnist: Dowokpor, Romeo Adzah

Mask off the petitioner of the president to remove Justice Dennis Adjei

By:Romeo Adzah Dowokpor


It is the belief of many a people that eternal judgement is of the Lord who watches over the transgression of men. But in our physical world,the judiciary holds the bar to dispensing justice to all manner of persons whether rich or poor;low or mighty; young or old et al.


It is therefore imperative that the judiciary and all its actors leave above reproach so that the people can have faith and trust in the sounds of its gavel when judgements are given.


It is for this simple but sacred reason that individuals who use their offices to perpetuate misrule and injustice at the bench out to be exposed,shamed and punished punitively. And the media must be the vehicle through which such exposés can be brought into the limelight.


However,the media must be exceedingly cautious and probing in such a delicate enterprise as any wrong or shallow reportage may lead to a miscarriage of justice or dent on the hard-won reputations of judges or other actors in the dispensation of justice


It has been reported in the media that a private legal practitioner,I.B. Akwantey, has petitioned President John Mahama to remove Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei from office for allegedly taking a bribe of GHS 2000 from another judge,Benjamin Osei, in order to add his name to some purported list of judges to be considered for promotion.


The accused judge,Dennis Dominic Adjei,who is also the Chairman of Association Judges and Magistrates and the Director of Judicial Training Institute, according to the petitioner directed Justice Osei to see Justice Bernard Bentil,"Chief of Staff" at the Chief Justice's secretariat to facilitate the purported promotion. He is also alleged to have taken another GHS 2000 from Justice Osei


"Judge Benjamin Osei had worked with the judiciary for 18 years without blemish but he is still a Circuit Court judge


"He ,therefore,decided to put the two big men at the Chief Justice Secretariat to test and it proved positive", the petitioner stated


If these damning allegations hold any iota of truth,corruption at the judiciary might just be at the nose of the Chief Justice since the judges accused of such a misdemeanour work directly under her office.


It is interesting to note that the petitioner, Isaac B. Akwantey who described himself as a private legal practitioner was among the twenty Magistrates and Circuit Court judges sacked for being implicated in the judicial corruption scandal exposé by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2015/december-8th/full-list-of-dismissed-judges.php#sthash.sb91Riy8.dpuf


Justice Benjamin Osei,who was described by the petitioner as having worked at the bar for 18 years without blemish was also part of the judges sacked as a result of Anas' exposé. He was the Circuit Court judge at Juaben


The petitioner and star witness have both been sacked from the bar without their benefits for stated misdemeanor and act of corruption determined by the committee established by the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to investigate the Tiger Eye PI exposé


Section 16(1) of the Legal Profession Act(Act 1960) is clear on the erasure of names of lawyers who have been found guilty of any grave misconduct from the Roll Lawyers or prohibited from practicing for a stated period as stated in their suspension.


In what capacity then is I.B. Akwantey describing himself as a private legal practitioner? Perhaps, his name is not yet struck out from the Roll of Lawyers or he has not been prohibited from practising even after he was found guilty.


According to the petitioner,the alleged bribe-for-promotion incident happened about two years ago. The timing of this allegation must be questioned and analysed because it is springing up after the petitioner has been sacked from the bar for a similar misconduct. This,however,does not mean that the Chief Justice must not investigate the said damning allegations against officers working in her secretariat.


Martin Luther King, Jr. rightly puts it when he said "Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress".


Her Lordship Georgina Theodora Wood,let the gavel of justice fall wherever it may,the waters of our social progress as a people must continue to flow.


The writer, Romeo Adzah Dowokpor, is a journalist, social commentator, poet and the President of the Students' Representative Council of the Ghana Institute of Journalism(2015/16), Accra. He can be reached on romeodowokpor@outlook.com