Four staff of the Judicial Service implicated in the latest Anas Aremeyaw Anas bribery scandal yesterday appeared before the Chief Justice’s committee of inquiry.
They are Elias Nkansah, Daniel Dzata, Eric Ayensu and Peace Abuadzi – all clerks in various courts.
Over 180 staff of the Service were caught on camera taking bribes while some demanded for sex to influence judgment of cases or acted as middlemen for some judges.
Some of them are well connected that one can only see a judge through them.
The court clerks, some of whom appeared with their lawyers before the committee chaired by Avril Lovelace Johnson, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, watched the video.
They are required to provide their responses in respect of the video they had watched and convince the committee why disciplinary actions should not be taken against them.
The committee resumes sitting on Monday.
Other members are Derrick Annan; John Bannerman, Chief Registrar of Courts; Nana Opoku Asumani, Secretary; Patricia Quansah, a Circuit Court Judge and Frederick Baidoo, Deputy Director of Human Resource of the Judicial Service.
So far, 22 circuit court judges and magistrates have already been suspended while seven high court judges have been asked to stay away by the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, in order to establish their culpability.
The high court judges implicated are Justices Francis K. Opoku, Kofi Essel Mensah, John Ajet-Nasam, Ernest Obimpeh, Kwame Ohene Essel, Ivy Heward-Mills and Gilbert Ayisi Addo.
Their suspension, according to a statement issued by the Judicial Service and signed by Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, Secretary, dated October 5, 2015, follows the establishment of a prima facie case of stated misbehaviour against them by the Chief Justice pursuant to Article 146 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.
The move followed a petition presented against the judges by a private investigative group, Tiger Eye PI, headed by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has begun interrogating some of the judges indicted in the scandal.
Although no names have been dropped yet,
two high court judges have so far appeared before the CID for interrogation.
ASP Benefo Darkwa, Head of Public Relations at the Police CID, told Citi FM yesterday that about 100 judicial staff would also be interrogated.
“We have 100 judicial staff members who are to be investigated…We have written to them and they have responded positively. This week two of them will be investigated and from next week, the rest and the judicial staff members will also be investigated,” he stated.
According to him, investigation takes a lot of time but the police are poised to do everything required by law to come out with the facts of the issue, adding that “…after the investigation, we will write a report and send it to the A-G for advice…”
Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, lawyer for Justice Ayisi Addo, is already kicking against the CID probe.
The CID is expected to interrogate Justices John Ajet-Nasam, Paul Uuter Dery, Charles Quist, Kofi Essel Mensah, Mustapha Habib Logoh, Ernest Obimpeh and Ayisi Addo.
The rest are Francis K. Opoku, Kwame Ohene-Essel, Ivy Heward-Mills and Asmah Akwasi Asiedu as well as Justices Yaw Ansu-Gyeabour and Mohammed Ahmed Mustapha who are both on retirement.
Anas’ private investigative company, Tiger Eye PI, conducted a two-year investigation which produced a 500-hour video depicting 34 judges and magistrates, more than 100 court clerks, seven policemen, five state attorneys and bail contractors engaging in bribery and extortion.
One court clerk was even caught having sexual affair with a lady.
One of the high court judges implicated in the video, Justice Dery, is on the heels of any organisation that attempts to screen the video, while 14 circuit court judges have filed a suit seeking to stop the committee instituted by the Judicial Council from investigating the matter.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson