Association of Magistrates and Judges calls for probe into allegations
The National Executive Council of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has formally complained to the General Legal Council, the regulatory authority for the legal profession in Ghana.
Their complaint is on unsubstantiated allegations made against the Judiciary, by some legal practitioners.
A communiqué issued by the Association in Accra on Wednesday said: “For a considerable period of time now, members have become increasingly disturbed by the growing spate of unsubstantiated allegations made against the Judiciary, in general, by various legal practitioners.
“While we felt concerned by this growing menace, we have up till now maintained a forbearing stance, observing the traditional judicial attitude of stolid restraint”.
The Association referred particularly to allegations and assertions by some lawyers, which have been published in the media, at a meeting held on Friday, May 13.
The communiqué said: “Our requests to the Council are for the assertions made by the lawyers on corruption in the Judiciary to be investigated and the critics given the chance to substantiate what they assert.”
The complaints were made against four lawyers, Dr Raymond Atuguba, Mr David Annan, Mr Abraham Amaliba and Mr Larry Bimi.
It said: “Judges and magistrates are not saying that we are beyond criticism or that we should not be criticized. All we say is that such criticisms should be merited or be capable of being justified or substantiated.
“This is why we are asking for the criticisms to be investigated to give the critics the chance to substantiate or justify their criticisms,” it added.
It asserted that if the critics could justify their assertions or substantiate them, the judges and magistrates involved would be known, and steps would then be taken to have them removed or appropriately sanctioned and prosecuted where necessary.
The communiqué said: “This is the only way we can correct ourselves and bring the bad nuts in our midst to book or weed them out of the Judiciary. This has been an on-going exercise of the Judicial Council where the facts on corruption are brought to the attention of the Council.
“We consequently, encourage members of the public who have any evidence of corrupt behaviour by judges, magistrates and staff of the Judicial Service to come forward with such evidence involving those concerned so that they will be appropriately investigated and dealt with.
“If the critics making the allegations cannot substantiate them, it would mean that the allegations are false or based on rumours or in the figment of the imagination of the critics. Such critics could then be referred to as being irresponsible for making false allegations or peddling false rumours against judges and magistrates which they know will needlessly and unjustifiably result in ruining the reputation of members of the Bench.
“Ghanaians are not known to be that irresponsible and for that matter careless in thought and speech. Therefore, appropriate action should be taken against people, particularly lawyers, who conduct themselves so irresponsibly and unprofessionally, so that they are made to speak or write responsibly and professionally, in future.
“In the alternative, critics who cannot substantiate their criticism are themselves criminals who needlessly peddle false rumours against judges, magistrates and public officers or condone, aid or abet the crime of corruption and are, therefore, unwilling to come into the public for fear of the consequences of the exposure of their contribution to the crime of corruption. They should be handed over to the police for appropriate action.
“Until this matter has been satisfactorily resolved, Judges and Magistrates also reserve the right to recuse themselves from hearing cases in which any of these lawyers appears, since Dr Atuguba has declared to the world at large that: …there is nobody in the country who can convince me that judges do not take bribes.
“The same holds good for the other lawyers who hold similar views as Dr Atuguba”.