TWO more High Court judges implicated in the judicial bribery scandal, by Aremeyaw Anas, have been removed from office by the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, on grounds of stated misbehaviour.
They are Justices Kofi Essel Mensah, a human rights high court judge and Francis K. Opoku, a justice of the High Court at Bolgatanga.
A statement signed and copied to The Ghanaian Times, by Mr Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, Judicial Service Secretary said the Chief Justice took the decision based on the recommendation of President John Mahama, in a letter dated April 12, 2016.
The statement ordered them to hand over their bungalows and all official property in their possession, including their official vehicles, dockets, and record books to the Judicial Secretary.
The Chief Justice formed a committee, chaired by a Supreme Court Judge, in accordance with Article 146(4) of the constitution, after she had determined a prima facie case against them in a petition submitted to the President on August 31, 2015.
The petition was referred to the Chief Justice by President Mahama in accordance with Article 146(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
In the case of Justice K.Opoku, the statement said a second petition for his removal from office was submitted to the President by the Judicial Council on October 29, 2015 on grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence following complaints about his failure to sit regularly as a Justice of the High Court, at Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region.
Investigations by the Chief Justice Committee also found that Justice Poku had engaged in ex-parte discussions with agents of Anas of Tigereyepi, in respect of the case, “Webajuwa Bazilyem vs Kaponga Kunipwah,” contrary to Rule 3(7) of the Code of Conduct for Judges and Magistrates.
Again, in respect of the second petition against Justice Poku, the committee found that the Judge’s dereliction in the performance of his duties and continued absence from duty at the High Court, had eroded public confidence in the judiciary.
In the case of Justice Mensah, the committee concluded that he secretly had a discussion with members of the Tigereyepi team about a bail application in the case of the “The Republic vs. Mohammed Nii Baah” for which GH¢ 5,000 was paid to him through Gabriel Achana, a court staff.
The committee concluded that the Judge’s conduct amounted to impropriety which had undermined public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary, contrary to Rule 2(A) for the Code of Conduct of Judges and Magistrates.
In September 2015, Anas premiered the video in which 22 circuit court judges and magistrates and 12 High Court judges were caught negotiating various sums with litigants to twist the arm of justice.
The investigator also petitioned the President and the Chief Justice for their removal from office on grounds of misbehaviour.
By Malik Sullemana