The Chief Justice, His Lordship, Justice Anin Yeboah, has been trending on social media in an alleged $5million bribery scandal that involves him and Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi, Atta IV, and his counsel, lawyer Akwasi Afrifa.
The matter under consideration is in respect of a legal suit at the Supreme Court involving Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV as plaintiff and the Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited & the Lands Commission as respondent.
The Chief Justice is one of the Judges sitting on the case. Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV, and his lawyer, Akwasi Afrifa Esq, have petitioned the General Legal Council (GLC) in respect of the alleged $5million bribery scandal, which the Chief Justice has strongly been linked.
On Monday, the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, issued a statement on behalf of the Chief Justice, detailing the intention of the Chief Justice to petition the Director General of the CID, to commence investigations into the bribery allegation.
The main focus of the said letter reads thus: “The attention of His Lordship, the Chief Justice has been drawn to letters from a Lawyer (Akwasi Afrifa; Esq) and his client, the plaintiff in the matter of OGYEEDOM OBRANU KWESI ATTA IV; V GHANA TELECOMMUNIVATIONS COMPANY & LANDS COMMISSION, herein referred to as respondents, to the Disciplinary Committee of the GENERAL LEGAL COUNCIL and which letters are making the rounds on social media”.
Indeed, it’s on the basis of the well circulated letter that the Chief Justice is notifying the Director General of the CID, Commissioner of Police (COP) Isaac Ken Yeboah, “that the matter be fully investigated and a formal complaint made to the Criminal Investigations Department”.
The move by the Chief Justice has come under intense criticisms and interrogations. Many concerned Ghanaians are wondering why the Chief Justice who is at the centre of the alleged scandal, be the one calling for investigations.
With his position at the number four man on the political hierarchy of the Republic of Ghana, it’s the contention of many that any such move, by the Chief Justice, irrespective of the outcome, will be assessed from a jaundiced-biased stand-point.
“It’s like the man at the centre of a football match playing the role of a referee; a player; a referee’s assistant and match a commissioner”, a lawyer who spoke on the Chief Justice’s letter to the CID wondered. It’s not the lawyer alone who is in such a quandary.
There are others who are wondering why the Chief Justice will jump the gun when independent bodies like the EOCO, the CHRAJ and an independent CID have the mandate to investigate any criminal imputation in such matters.
So the concern has been how independent will the CID boss, who the Chief Justice has petitioned be in investigating the bribery allegation? Again there is the believe that the approach by the Chief Justice is tantamount to usurpation of the powers and functions of state investigating bodies.
Parts of the petition-letter also states that apart from the CID investigations, the Chief Justice will attempt “his own civil legal options to ensure that the matter is dealt with to its logical conclusions”.
This area of the petition is within the legal remit of the Chief Justice that none can deny him. It’s his inalienable right as a citizen of the land and so he is entitled to.
According to the letter, “He (CJ) has further directed that a petition be lodged with the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council in respect of this specific matter” the letter referred; and further added that “His Lordship is available to assist with all investigations into the matter”.
The Chief Justice claims he is “saddened that without any shred of evidence, his name has been dragged into this sordid and potentially criminal matter” and “confirms that he does not know the plaintiff and has not met or seen him anywhere, except in the court room, when he rises to announce his name when his case is called”.
It will be premature for the Chief Justice to adduce that there is no evidence to support the claim of the accusers and it’s only an independent investigation and a competent court of the land, that can establish his guilt or otherwise.
The letter further states that “His Lordship asserts that he has had no personal interaction either with the plaintiff or his lawyer on this matter or in any other matter, and has not demanded or received any money from any person to influence any decision in this matter or in any other matter”.
As to whether these claims by the CJ could stand the test of time, can only be established, again by an independent investigative body and of course through a fair trial at the courts.
The Chief Justice again explains that “Indeed, the records show the plaintiff unsuccessfully petitioned for the recusal of His Lordship, the Chief Justice and His Lordship, Victor Jones Mawulom Dotse from the matter, on a claim that they were prejudiced against him”.
“The records further show that the Chief Justice was the only Judge on a panel who recently on 31st March 2021, dissented in an application at the instance of the plaintiff, Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV in favour of the respondent, Ghana Telecommunications Co. Ltd”, the letter states.
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