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Opinions of Monday, 21 July 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Would You Do This If You Were a Judge (Court)?

The views and reactions of both legal minds and laymen are sought on the following case scenario. A queen of a town offers bribes to some electors, to be precise, kingmakers. She replaces the outer gate to the courtyard of the most senior and most powerful (according to custom and usage) kingmaker. The purpose of putting in a new gate to the house is to debar the families of the other contesting royals from the kingmaker’s house on the day she presents her nominated candidate for the vacant divisional paramount stool.

She arranges macho men, several police and army personnel and her local supporters to offer her nominated candidate and herself protection. Additionally, they are there to intimidate not only the townsmen but also, the other contesting royals from the other royal families.

On the appointed day, the head of one of the royal families is bundled out of the courtyard of the most senior kingmaker. He is nearly stripped naked. The other person, the overall head of the royal families, is also chucked out of the courtyard, all at the behest of the queen. She thinks her bullying tactics/actions will facilitate the acceptance of her nominee as the chief-elect by the kingmakers.

When her intentions as proposed fail, she runs to inform her accomplices. They then put in place their “Plan B”, hoping that will do their dirty trick, coerce the kingmakers to yield in to her demands. She goes before a Council of chiefs and an audience totalling about one thousand people.

She says, “I have given kingmaker “K” GHc15, 000, kingmaker “A” GHc10, 000 and kingmaker “N” GHc10, 000. They agree to take GHc50, 000 from me if they help enstool my candidate the chief of…” After taking the money from me, they are dragging their feet. They seem to be siding with the rival royal gates.

The Second in Command of the Council of Chiefs stands up, and announces thus, “A bird has chirped into my ears, that the queen is going to buy each of you three a brand new car. Therefore, you have to ensure you install her nominee as the chief-elect. You have to fulfil the duty for which you accepted the money from her”.

He orders the alleged bribe takers to stand up one after the other. He asks each of them in turn, “Do you have any charge against the nominee?” Each says in turn, no. Then he says, “Go and perform the necessary customs, and then bring him (the queen’s nominee) before the overall boss of the Council to swear the final oath of allegiance to become the paramount chief”

My question is would you accept a bribe from the queen if you were a Court judge? If you will, say why. If you will not, explain the reason why. If she is able to stand in public to announce a crime committed under the cover of darkness, why can’t she equally disclose a crime (offering a judge a bribe) committed in broad daylight? Have I cued you on the answer I expect from you as a judge?

Bribe offering and or bribe taking is a crime abhorred by both statutory regulations and the custom and usages of the tribe from which comes the queen and her accomplices. However, the Council of chiefs acquiesces wholeheartedly in the crime and grants it their blessing.

I am patiently waiting for your response.

Rockson Adofo