Two more High Court judges sacked over corruption
The Judicial Council has sacked two more High Court judges over corruption charges, bringing to four the number of senior judges removed from office since the bribery scandal broke out in 2015.
The two judges – Justice Kofi Essel Mensah and Justice Francis K. Opoku – were removed on grounds of “stated misbehaviour” following a petition filed against them by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an official statement has said.
“The Director of Human Resource has also been requested to ensure that their names are deleted from the payroll of the Judicial Service with effect from April 19, 2016,” Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex Poku-Acheampong, said in a statement, on Wednesday.
The Council has, consequently, directed the affected judges to vacate their bungalows and hand over all the official property in their possession, including vehicles, dockets and record books to the Judicial Secretary.
The Council said a second petition was brought against Justice Opoku for his removal from office for gross misconduct and incompetence following complaints of his consistent absence in court to adjudicate cases.
“The committee found that Justice Opoku’s dereliction in the performance of his duties and continued absence from duty at the High Court, Bolgatanga, had eroded public confidence in the Judiciary in the Region and portrayed him as incompetent,” the statement said.
The Committee also found Justice Mensah to have held ill-intention with prospects of receiving valuable consideration in some case and had secretly discussed an application for bail with the petitioner and taken GHC5,000 from him.
“The Committee concluded that the judge’s conduct amounted to impropriety, which had undermined public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary contrary to the code of conduct for judges and magistrates,” it said.
The Council earlier this year dismissed two high court judges, Justice John Ajet-Nasam and Justice Ernest Obimpeh, from the bench and discharged 21 lower court judges, and 19 judicial staff of their duties in connection with the scandal.
Thirty-four judges, including 22 lower court judges and 12 High Court judges, along with some court staff, were captured in a video footage extorting bribes from litigants to warp the justice system.
The revelations caused public outrage, prompting an investigation by the Chief Justice.
Ghana is ranked 58 out of 168 in the latest Transparency International’s Corruption index.
Ghana is seen as a beacon of democracy and propriety in the Sub region.