Lawyers Offering Bribes?.. Judge threatens to disgrace them

Mr Eric Amoateng(in brown suite)An Accra Circuit Court Judge has threatened to openly disgrace lawyers who would attempt to bribe her to influence judgements.

Mrs. Ellen Vivian Amoah also stated that the practice where lawyers sought favours from the court “through the powers that be” was an affront to the legal profession, adding that “legal practitioners and judges alike must work to maintain the image of the profession and their personal integrity”.

Though it was not clear which case she was referring to, the presiding judge sounded the caution in Accra yesterday, shortly after she had adjourned the case involving former Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North, Eric Amoateng, to September 11.

After the adjournment, the Court Clerk explained to the court, the feelings of the judge concerning such matters and advised lawyers to desist from the unhealthy practice.

The clerk revealed that four lawyers who misconducted themselves, had been reprimanded by the judge.

Mrs. Amoah then took over and expressed worry   at the attitude of some   lawyers who collected money from their clients with the promise of bribing judges to induce judgement in their favour.

She asked that those who, in one way or the other, had been charged extra cost by lawyers, aside the contractual agreements, to lodge formal complaints at the Complaints Unit of the Judicial Service for redress.

“There is no point to engage in bribery when you have a good case. I am employed to work and paid for the work I do, and, therefore, will not yield to influence peddling,” she fumed.

“If you have given money to anyone to be given to me, please go back and take your money because it is not the practice here.  Justice is not for sale, and we all must strive to uphold the tenets of the profession,” she stated

Explaining the repercussions of such illegal practice, Mrs. Amoah said it would scare investors from coming to invest in the country.

“One of the things that investors consider before they invest in any economy, is an effective and transparent judicial system, and therefore, no investor would commit resources in a country where the highest bidders are those who could induce judgement,” she said.

Earlier in the Amoateng case, the prosecutor had prayed the court to adjourn sitting to enable them to conduct further investigations.

Mr. Charles Puozuing, defence counsel, in response, prayed the court to discharge the accused if prosecutor did not start the case at the next adjourned date.

Mr. Amoateng is standing trial for passport fraud, contrary to Section 166 of the Criminal Offences Act 29, of 1960.

According to the prosecution, checks with the Ghana Immigration Service revealed that the passport, H2347080, which Amoateng travelled with back to Ghana, was issued to a young lady, Barbara Inkum, while the accused was in incarceration in the United Stated of America (USA)

Police Prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent   of Police (DSP) Aidan Derry told the court that, the accused was arrested on Thursday, August 7, at the Kotoka International Airport when he arrived on a Delta Airline flight from New York.

He said Amoateng travelled to the USA on December 11, 2005, and was arrested there with heroine, tried and subsequently jailed for 10 years. By Malik Sullemana 

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