22 Judges suspended

Mrs. Theodora Wood, ChiefJusticeTwenty-Two Circuit court  judges and magistrates have been suspended by the Judicial Council for being caught on video allegedly taking bribes from litigants.

A disciplinary committee, set up by the council and chaired by Supreme Court judges recommended the suspension of the said judges until the final determination of the matter .

This followed a directive by President John Mahama for the Chief Justice (CJ)Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to deal with Judges found to have twisted the hands of justice.

President Mahama, now on an official visit to Berlin,Germany, in a response to a letter addressed to him by the Chief Justice also asked her to follow due process and bring the matter to its logical conclusion.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice at a five-hour emergency meeting yesterday, attended by top judicial staff in lieu of the scandal, has vowed to crack the whip according to a statement signed by Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, Judicial Secretary.

“The Judicial Council would like to assure the general public that the outcome of these processes would be made fully public and no one will be spared appropriate sanctions where culpability is established,” it said.

“The council fully reckons that perception or actuality of corruption in the Judiciary undermines confidence in the institution and cannot be tolerated to continue in any shape or form, hence the need to act with utmost dispatch,” the statement added.

According to the statement, 22 circuit court judges and magistrates had been suspended following preliminary investigations by a disciplinary committee formed by the Judicial Council.

It said the CJ, on August 31, received two petitions from “tigereyepi” in respect of the alleged corrupt Judges and, on September 1, forwarded same to President John Mahama in accordance with Article 146 of theconstitution requesting him to initiate impeachment proceedings against the judges.

The statement added that the Chief Justice, then began the process to determine whether there is a prima facie case against the 12 High Court Judges.

It said the petition for the removal from office of the 22 circuit court Judges and magistrates was directed to the Chief Justice to deal with under Article 151 of the constitution.

Subsequently, an emergency Judicial Council meeting was held on September 2, where a five-member disciplinary committee chaired by a Supreme Court Judge was constituted to investigate the petition against the 22 circuit court Judges and magistrates.

On September 7, the said Judges and magistrates were served with letters stating the allegations against them and were asked to submit responses by September 9, 2015.

The Council upon receipt of the responses of the Judges and magistrates, decided that they should be suspended pending the final determination of the case.

The statement said the committee had instituted the necessary investigative process to identify, for further disciplinary actions, against other court officials who might have collaborated in the alleged misconduct.

The Judiciary was rocked with another massive corruption after it had emerged that 36 high and circuit court judges as well as magistrates and court officials were caught on video taking bribes from litigants.

The undercover was undertaken by ace journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

The expose had attracted public opprobrium and condemnation with some members of the diplomatic corps joining the discussion.


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