Establish independent commission to probe judicial scandal – Anti-corruption group

JudgesThe Citizens Movement Against Corruption (CMaC) has suggested the establishment of an independent commission of renowned retired judges such as those of the Commonwealth, to probe the judiciary scandal and submit their recommendations for institutional reforms.

The anti-corruption movement CMaC believes that the scale of the scandal, which is putting the entire edifice of Ghana’s constitutional democracy at risk, is beyond the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council and requires “massive and sustained support from the citizenry, backed by an organized protest movement.”

“Our record as a nation and the enormity of the engaging crises in our democratic institutions and processes strongly suggest that the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council cannot clean up the rot by themselves, even with the best of intentions”, the group said at a press conference on Thursday October 8.

They however commended the Chief Justice for embracing the revelations as an opportunity to reform the judiciary.

In a two-year undercover exposé, investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas uncovered corruption in Ghana’s judiciary with a series of secretly recorded videos showing some High Court judges and magistrates taking bribes to offer judgment in the favour of bidders.

The group said the “obscene corruption” in the judicial system exposed by Anas, is only “a microcosm of the deep rot afflicting all sectors of Ghanaian public life” and the fight against corruption in the judiciary should not isolate judges if it is to have any lasting impact.

The group expressed disappointment with what they described as the eloquent silence of political parties on such a scandal threatening the foundations of our democracy.

They also identified leadership by the Executive in the fight against corruption as a critical element owing to the power of the president to appoint many key officials.

Other key elements they noted, were a Right to Information Law, and proper checks and balances between key institutions such as the police, Parliament and the Executive.

CMaC consists of various institutions including the Private Enterprises Federation, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Christian Council of Ghana.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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