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The Informer
30th April 2011, 09:47 PM
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The Executive Secretary of the Constitution Review Commission, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, has asserted that corruption in the judiciary was not a perception but a reality, adding that no one can convince him that some judges were not corrupt.

“I have two personal experiences; I stayed in a house close to a judge’s house and I saw what went on. There were instances where people mistakenly brought packages to our house ostensibly to give to the judge. We will listen to the whole story until they mention the case number, then we will tell them please you are in the wrong house.

“I stayed also with an upright judge and I saw how people attempted to bribe him but he always turned them down,” he explained.

Dr Raymond Atuguba was sharing a personal experience of judicial corruption at a roundtable discussion on the judiciary and Ghana’s justice system in Accra, organized by the National Commission for Civic Education as part of its annual constitution week.

It was on the theme: "The State of Ghana’s Democracy - the Judiciary and the Justice System.”

According to him, “the test of justice is deeper than waters and selling justice is the grievous crime one can talk of.”

He said there were instances where court clerks passed behind lawyers to see judges with incentives from clients and described the legal profession as very frustrating since documents were deliberately disappearing from the courts.

Dr Atuguba said the 2008 Afrobarometer Survey in Ghana confirmed the assertion that a greater number of Ghanaians had no trust in the court system, saying that 50 per cent of respondents indicated that judges and magistrates were corrupt.

He said various researches said even judges conceded that there was corruption in the judiciary and that there would be a serious trouble in future if nothing was done to curb the situation.

Panelists at the 11th Annual Constitution Week celebration forum expressed worry about perceived corruption of the Judiciary, which denies the ordinary person true justice. They claimed that justice was being sold at the law courts, and called for mechanisms to ensure that the judiciary was accountable to curb corruption.

They also expressed concern about adjournment of cases, which they said was a ploy to burden clients with extra cost for the benefit of legal practitioners and judges.

The panellists were, Mr A. Y. Seini, Director at the Legal Aid Scheme, Mr Abraham Amaliba, from the Legal Resource Centre and Mr B. I. Korray, Legal Practitioner at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.

Mr Seini alleged that because of malfeasance of individuals at the courts wrong rules were accepted as normal, and when the average Ghanaian could not access justice due to the high cost of filing fees then the nation was at risk.

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On his part, Mr Amaliba observed that judicial corruption was no more a perception but a reality and indicated that effective and efficient judiciary was needed to realise the fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution. He added that the situation is so worrying to the extent that people feel one cannot win any case in court without bribing the trial judge.

He called on the judicial service to conduct a self-retrospection to purge themselves.

Mr Farhan Larry Bimi, Chairman of NCCE expressed worry that the courts delay electoral cases for years before passing judgment. He said though the judiciary was supposed to be independent, there were instances where judges passed what he termed, “telephone judgment” from the Executive and called for stringent measures to be put in place to ensure speedy adjudication of cases.


Source: GNA/Peacefmonline.com