Wednesday, September 23, 2015

See why Ghanaians are angry, Judges caught on video collecting bribe

Ghanaians have voiced shock and anger after hundreds of people flocked to see a public screening of a long-awaited video capturing judges and court officials allegedly taking bribes. Twenty-two circuit judges and magistrates were suspended when the claims were first made in a newspaper earlier this month, sparking a probe by the country’s judicial council disciplinary body. Some of the judges implicated tried to block the broadcast but failed and the footage lasting several hours was finally shown on Tuesday evening in the capital, Accra. “The whole thing is pathetic,” said Kwame Acheampong, who was among the audience at the screening, which it has been claimed was confirmation of long-held suspicions about the practice in Ghana. Another resident, Bismarck Nanor, said any judge found guilty of wrong-doing should be punished and not be regarded as “above the law”. “I think that for the justice system to purge itself, everyone found culpable must be punished according to the same law, the same legal proceedings they use against others,” he added. Michael Ntim questioned why judges would be tempted to accept bribes in the first place, adding: “I was so shocked honestly at some of the things I saw.” The allegations of bribe-taking to swing favourable verdicts and acquittals were made by an undercover journalist, who then petitioned President John Dramani Mahama for the judges’ removal. In addition to the 22 judges and magistrates suspended, Ghana’s chief justice Georgina Wood said the judicial council was also looking at whether 12 high court judges should also face action.

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