The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Kwaku Asante, has warned that judges caught in the video allegedly negotiating various sums of money to free litigants can secure their freedom through technicalities of the law but can not escape from God.
“Those judges caught in the web of the judicial bribery scandal, could escape through technicalities of the law, but could not run away from the piercing sight of God,” he stated.
Despite this, the Presiding Bishop, who was preaching the sermon at the 2015-16 Legal Year service, at the weekend, asked Ghanaians to have confidence in the judiciary, saying that majority of them were incorruptible.
“There still exist judges and magistrates of unquestionable character, mettle, valour and substance in whom Ghanaians can repose their confidence,” he said.
Reverend Professor Asante, who is also the Chairman of the National Peace Council, urged members of the bar and bench to strive to salvage their deeply sunken image.
The service was well attended by judges and magistrates including the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs. Marrieta Brew Appiah-Opong and Supreme Court judges.
Others were newly enrolled lawyers, the clergy, court clerks and members of the public.
He said the bribery scandal called for a self-retrospection, if the hard won reputation of the most revered institution was to be redeemed.
Professor Asante said justice should, at times, be dispensed without fear or intimidation, adding that “judges must be neutral umpires in the course of adjudicating justice to restore hope and public confidence”.
Noting that some members had not stood the test when the light was shown on them, Professor Asante said “endemic graft, indiscipline and corruption are not problems of the judiciary alone, but a Ghanaian menace that requires the fear of God and moral fortitude to address”.
By all measures, Ghana, he noted, was a Christian nation, therefore, the virtues of Christ and good manners should not only permeate the fabric of every institution, but also guide the conduct of every Ghanaian.
He remarked: “Although judges did not create human beings, their judgement could change the destiny of others”.
Later in an interview with The Ghanaian Times, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, the Judicial Secretary, expressed the Chief Justice’s readiness to deal with the alleged corruption in the judiciary expressly and expeditiously.
He said the Chief Justice was poised to crack the whip on judges who misconducted themselves, and would not leave anything to chance.
Ghanaians, he said, would be informed of the outcome of the investigations by the Judicial Committee, assuring that the findings would put the matter to rest and pave the way forward.
By Malik Sullemana