Mr. Justice Asmah Akwasi Asiedu, one of the judges mentioned in the judicial bribery scandal, has been exonerated.
The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, has dismissed the allegations against him by Anas Aremeyaw Anas because no him by Anas Aremeyaw Anas because no case of corruption has been established.
The Chief Justice says the evidence provided by and his team did not constitute aprima facie case.
Justice Asiedu was among the 21 circuit court Judges and magistrates Anas’ group tigereyepi petitioned for their removal on grounds of misconduct.
At the time Anas petitioned the Chief Justice, Justice Asiedu had been elevated from the circuit to the high court, and, therefore, the procedure for removal of lower court judges could not be applied to him.
For that reason, he was not among the 21 Circuit Court judges suspended by the Chief Justice eight weeks ago.
A statement by the Judicial Secretary, Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, said in view of his position as a high court judge, the petition against him was subsequently forwarded to President John Mahama in accordance with Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution, since Articles 148 and 151 were not applicable to him.
President Mahama, in a letter dated September 23, 2015, requested the Chief Justice to handle the petition under Article 146 and determine whether or not there was a prima facie case against Justice Asiedu per Article 146(3).
However, the Chief Justice, upon her determination, concluded that the evidence provided by tigereyepi in support of the allegations against Justice Asiedu was inadequate and so failed to meet the prima facie constitutional threshold.
When contacted for his view on the development Mr. John Ndebugre, a senior lawyer, told The Ghanaian Times yesterday, that the judge could seek damages against tigereyepi for dragging his name into the mud for no just cause.
He said Justice Asiedu had been brushed with a “black paint” and he (Asiedu) could ask for aggravated damages against his person.
“We have vehemently urged caution against the public showing of this video, but they would not listen. This amounts to defamation of character against a high court judge. How do you want the world to regard him when he assumes his position as a judge?” he lamented.
Asked whether Anas could be imprisoned should be tried and found culpable, Mr. Ndebugre said, “this is a civil case, but the punishment could be substantial”.
Equally so, the lawyer opined that the judge could commence proceedings against the media and all other organisations for libel.
Meanwhile, in order to expedite investigations into the alleged misconduct by the High Court judges, the Chief Justice in accordance with a decision had constituted another committee to investigate the matter against three judges in line with Article 146(4).
The five-member committee comprises a Justice of the Supreme Court, who is the chairperson with two Justices of the Court of Appeal and two other persons appointed on the advice of the Council of State, who are neither lawyers, Parliamentarians or members of the Council.
By Malik Sullemana