Bribery allegations against CJ must be treated with seriousness – NDC
The Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked the Government to immediately set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe the bribery allegations levelled against Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah.
It said the allegations if not treated with utmost seriousness would compromise public confidence in the Judiciary and roll back the many gains made over the years.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, on Tuesday, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the Party, urged the CJ to recuse himself temporarily to allow for an impartial and transparent investigations into the allegations by the Judicial Service.
“As the political tradition that birthed the Fourth Republic, we are deeply concerned that if this matter is not handled with utmost transparency and the required seriousness, it could compromise public confidence in the Judiciary and roll back the many gains that we have made in our forward march as a viable democratic state.”
Mr Akwasi Afrifa, a lawyer, in a response to a petition filed against him by his client Nana Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV, alleged that his client told him the CJ had demanded a $5 million bribe to purportedly influence a court case.
The Chief Justice has, however, denied the allegation and asked the Police Criminal Investigations Department to investigate the case.
Nana Kwesi Atta has also denied making the allegation against the Chief Justice.
Mr Asiedu Nketia, however, said the allegations made against the CJ were serious and rocked the very foundations of the Judiciary, which was an indispensable and independent arm of government.
He noted that over the years, the country had collectively worked hard to build a Judiciary with an enviable reputation, producing some of the best Jurists on the African continent and around the world.
He added that the role an effective, independent and impartial Judiciary played in attracting investment, ensuring national stability and improvement in the general well-being of the citizenry could not be over emphasised.
Mr Asiedu Nketia said any suggestion that the head of such an institution had sought to compromise his office to undermine the integrity of judgements made by the courts, therefore, warranted the most serious attention, adding that any doubts harboured over the integrity of the Judiciary and its leadership had the potential to erode public confidence in the administration of justice in the country and governance institutions, in general.
“We think that due to the considerable public interest involved in this matter, another effective and transparent approach in the circumstance will be a full-blown public inquiry,” he stated.
“This can be done by invoking Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution under which Parliament can by a resolution compel the President to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the matters at hand in a transparent manner and make a faithful determination thereof,” he said.
He also asked the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to initiate a probe into the allegations and bring finality to the matter.
Meanwhile, Nana Kwesi Atta had dragged Mr Afrifa to the General Legal Council over claims that he collected $100,000 from him to help influence his pending case against the Lands Commission and the Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited.
According to him, Mr Afrifa had refused to refund his money over not achieving him aim. Mr Afrifa has also denied taking the money.