The judiciary service in the African country of Ghana has been caught in a massive bribery scandal involving several senior judges and more than 100 staff members. The judges and staff members have been caught taking bribes and extorting money on vivid camera and audio recordings.
A three hour long video from investigative journalist and filmmaker Anas Aremeyaw Anas showcasing the scandal has yet to be released but graphic snippets of corruption have been released to select individuals.
The video reveals that 34 offenders are judges of various courts in Ghana, including the Ghana High Court. Anas Aremeyaw Anas is under intense pressure not to air the video. The video is titled “Ghana in the Eyes of God – Epic of Injustice”, and it is set to premiere on September 22.
Some individuals are afraid that the video will embarrass and cripple the judicial system of Ghana. However others believe that the video should be aired in order to weed out offenders and serve as a deterrent to future corruption. Anas Aremeyaw Anas has petitioned the judicial service and Ghana president John Mahama to remove the offenders from office. The names of the offenders have not yet been released. Some of the noteworthy individuals who are supposedly involved include Justice Kofi Essel Mensah, Charles Quist and Ajet Nassam.
High ranking officials of the Ghana judicial service are not saying much about the issue, but leaked information suggests that the offending individuals will be interdicted and that additional investigation will take place. Tension is growing as it is believed that some highly-profiled judges are involved in the scandal.
Five Ghanaian Judges have recently claimed to be ill as news of the scandal emerged. Meanwhile, other individuals involved in the scandal are reportedly pleading with authorities to resign from their posts to avoid prosecution. It is currently unclear as to whether or not the offending individuals will be prosecuted.
The Ghana judiciary is widely perceived as one of the most heavily corrupt institutions of Ghana. With this most recent scandal, this perception will only continue to grow. The Ghana Integrity Initiative has been citing the judiciary as one of Ghana’s most corrupt institutions for years. The topic is trending on social media, and the Ghanaian public is excited as the time for the airing of the video draws closer.
Some individuals are already starting to conduct methods of damage control. Legal practitioner and journalist Samson Lardy Ayenini has urged the media to isolate offending judicial professionals in the matter from non-offenders in order to avoid bringing shame to the entirety of the Ghana judicial system. Ghana lawyer Ace Ankomah has stressed to journalists that not all judges should be assumed to be corrupt and that judges who refused to be bribed should be applauded for their proper behavior.
Secretary of the Judiciary Council Alex Justice Opoku Acheampong said in a press conference on Wednesday that 22 Circuit and Magistrate judges, while the 12 High Court judges have been given 48 hours to respond to queries. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken upon other officials accordingly.
Acheampong said, “Appropriate actions will be taken against culprits found foul of law with dispatch.”
There are believed to be a total of 362 judges in Ghana.