I was with a friend when I first heard the news. I did not know whether to be happy or sad, smile or frown, hold my tongue or shout, when I first heard the most recent exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas dubbed ‘‘Ghana In The Eyes Of God’’. In the end, I managed a smile. But my friend could easily tell it was a wry smile.
It was a wry smile because I suspected it was going to be mind-blowing. Even without watching the video or reading any transcript, I knew some big fishes had been entrapped in Anas’ net. How right I was!
I’m not a hypocrite so I wouldn’t claim to be holier than anyone. I cannot be too harsh on the judges and the other judicial staff because I cannot claim to be more righteous than they are. I must confess I’ve had the occasion to bribe a court clerk in order to gain a favour.
Did I see you advertise a shocked expression? Fine, be the one to cast the first stone at me if you’ve never bribed a policeman or paid bribe to a public official to fast track a process for you.
Was I shocked about Anas’ recent revelation? No, I wasn’t. I wasn’t surprised because corruption in the judiciary is an open secret. I’m therefore amused that my compatriots are bemused by the contents of the damning video.
Perhaps, what is shocking about the revelation is how low some of the judges stooped. Some were said to have received paltry sums as bribe in order to compromise justice. Others received living goats, not dead ones, and other foodstuffs in return for twisting the neck of justice. What a shame!
Some of the judgments by some of the ‘corrupt’ judges in recent times have been very suspicious. Even those of us who do not have any legal training could easily smell stinking rats in their judgments. Without evidence, all we could do was to shout ‘stolen verdict’. After all, a thousand suspicions do not become evidence.
Anas has now provided the evidence, and all would soon have the opportunity to see it ‘filli-filli’. I cannot but wonder what the ‘corrupt’ judges would say in their defence.
A case in point is the judgment Justice Ajet Nassam gave in the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) stealing case. A cursory look at the judgment was enough for one to smell a stinking rat. More than 623,000 cowries were stolen from TOR’s account. One person was freed and three found guilty. The three were fined 30,000 cowries each, making a total of 90,000 cowries. It is worth noting that the total is about seven times less than the amount stolen. Does that make any sense?
Even before we heard of Anas’ video evidence, most of us viewed Justice Nassam’s judgment in the TOR case with suspicion. If judges were to continue giving such bizarre judgments, who wouldn’t be motivated to engage in such fraudulent deals?
Now the evidence has confirmed our suspicions and made us wiser. We now know what transpired behind the curtains. We also know that justice Nassam acquitted Bernard Sallah because his palm was greased. Even without evidence, we can now safely say that the three who were fined a paltry 30,000 cowries each received light fines because something fishy happened in chambers.
Interestingly, the same judge presided over the Woyome case. Despite the Supreme Court finding Woyome guilty, Justice Nassam still had the courage to free the Zu-za financier. We kept our suspicions to ourselves because we had no evidence. But we now know better. We know that Woyome’s so-called generosity did lead to that perverted form of justice.
As I read the transcript of how Anas’ Tiger team ‘busted’ Justice Charles Quist, I couldn’t help but remember the election petition at the Supreme Court. As I read Anas’ piece on what transpired on the day Justice Quist delivered his judgment, I kept wondering if it was a re-enactment of what happened on the judgment day of the election petition.
On July 25, 2014, as the court was packed with lawyers, investigators and the general public waiting for Justice Quist to come and deliver his judgment, he was somewhere receiving cowries in order to break the neck of justice.
Indeed, when he arrived at around 11 o’clock, he hurriedly cooked the judgement in his chambers and delivered it soon afterwards. Within three minutes everything was over. But in his haste he committed a grave error by forgetting about one accused person by name Napoleon Gomez. Gomez was freed although he had confessed to committing the crime.
Abusuapanin, are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m sure you remember how we all waited with bated breath for the Supreme Court judges on August 8, 2013. What made them take that long? Why was the judgment so short? And how come the error of Justice Baffoe Bonney voting for both the petitioners and the respondents on the issue of voting without biometric verification? Is it because the judgment was written in a hurry?
I’m only asking questions oo! As for me, I know my size so I will not open my mouth too wide. But with Sister Vicky’s ‘vikileaks’ tape still fresh in my medulla, I can’t help but smell a very rotten rat. In my mind’s eye I see Sister Vicky saying, ‘‘I told you so.’’
See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!
By Agya Kwaku Ogboro