Ghanaians Want Corrupt Judges to Be Punished
Accra — The news that high profile judges were filmed while taking bribes has sent shock waves through Ghana. The revelations came after two years of undercover work by the country’s foremost investigative journalist.
22 of the judges who took bribes sit in lower courts in Ghana. They were caught on video and audio recordings taking bribes for cases they were dealing with, some of which some were high profile. In some cases, in return for bribes, the unscrupulous judges freed criminals. Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas spent two years looking behind the scenes of courts across the country. The work he does is not without risk.
“I do what I do because it rids society of corruption and makes society a better place,” he told DW. “It makes your private life a bit boring because you cannot do what other people do, you can’t mingle as other people do because of the security implications.”
Ace Ankomah, a private legal practitioner in Ghana, says the revelations are extremely worrying. “The surprise is that this gentleman was able to get that number of judges on camera in their offices, in their homes, in parking lots, receiving money. That’s a massive sample size and it tells us this problem is deep. If we don’t fix the system, this is going to continue,” Ankomah said.
No sympathy from the public
“There have been a number of instances whereby Ghaniaian society really questioned the type of judgment given,” Dr Isaac Owusu-Mensah of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ghana told DW. He said the video and audio evidence represented “a major breakthrough.”
Another 12 High Court judges are reportedly also implicated in the scandal. Their cases are being looked into by chief Justice Georgina Wood.
Some have apparently fallen sick since the news of the scandal broke but members of the public have no sympathy for them and want to see them punished. Accra resident Thomas Suley says they should be sacked because people have lost trust in the judiciary. “They should be punished because what they are doing is not right, it’s corruption,” said Nii Noi.
In coming weeks Ghanaians will be able to watch public screenings of the incriminating videos.