The West African country-Ghana has been pushed into a state of shock by the revelations of a young investigative journalist-Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose over 1 and half year painstaking investigation has already pushed several Judges off the bench—with many more to follow.
The investigation which exposes the deep seated rot within Ghana’s enviable judiciary system—and consequently, injustice for many who unfortunately use the system alleges that 34 judges including two famous High Court judges take bribes and extort money behind the veil.
In fact, one of Ghana’s respectable High Court judges- Justice John Ajet-Nassam who freed Alfred Agbesi Woyome in a controversial Gh¢51 million judgment debt scandal is among those the inescapable net of the investigation cites as corrupt. ‘My Lord’ is not only a respectable senior judge in Ghana; he is of great international standing. He is reported to be head of justice for all programme and has been on US State Department-sponsored programme.
Several other judges, including a Human Rights Court judge-Kofi Essel Mensah and another famous High Court judge-Charles Quist are indicted by the shocking investigation as dishonourable members of the Judiciary—as they’ve been caught on tape allegedly making demands to throw away cases which include robbery, murder and corruption in return for money. Have you spotted the irony?
The Government and the Chief Justice of Ghana have acted with the needed swiftness; the investigative journalist has been granted immunity from prosecution and any civil action under Section 19 of Ghana’s Whistleblower Act—such is the national attention this scandal has received.
Obviously, the mention of corruption and judges in the same sentence has fetched Anas’ latest investigation the deserving attention—both in and outside Ghana. The investigation places a total of about 170 judiciary officers in an unimaginable pit of corruption—out of which about 34 are judges.
The above points to the fact that, it’s not only the judges who are corrupt—those around them are equally or even more corrupt; this sets forth the reason why I think the whole investigation is a waste of time and money.
Let me clearly mention that I perfectly understand the democratic role the Judiciary plays and therefore having corrupt individuals in charge of justice should never be the case. Also, I appreciate the efforts and clever investigative work done by Anas Aremeyaw Anas—but his perilous job will be meaningful if it fetches lasting results and not just cause temporal panic as always.
I find it deeply shocking and consider it somewhat untrue that any reasonable Ghanaian would be heavily shocked by the fact that Ghana’s judges and judiciary officers are corrupt. Of course they are corrupt—are they not Ghanaians?
These are people picked from a population of corrupt individuals and yet, they are expected to act as though they just descended in white gowns from a different planet. Who are we kidding?
I call the investigation a waste of time and resource because it just confirms what we already know—perhaps, the only thing new here is that we know the names of a few of the corrupt individuals and we can with pleasure throw stones at.
In all honesty, the investigation falls within the ‘waste of time and resource’ box because nothing substantial would be achieved. In fact, this will even make it difficult for us to pick up on the aroma of corruption and not that it will disappear but those involved will work harder to cover their anus.
No one is born corrupt; this should simply tell us that getting rid of 34 judges and other corrupt court officials will do little to shake the foundation of corruption in a country like Ghana—where almost everyone takes part or aids in some sort of corrupt/bribery practice at least once in a life time.
You cannot prune the branches of a mango tree and expect the new set of leaves to be that of oranges. This is exactly what we do in Ghana and the many hard works of Anas Aremeyaw Anas over the years have achieved no lasting result because of this—-our inability to dig deeper for enduring solutions. We always get rid of those who are unfortunate to be caught on camera and imprudently deceive ourselves into thinking that; we’ve dealt with the problem.
Ghanaians are not corrupt because of the food they eat—but it’s because the systems make bribery and corruption the only reasonable option, most times. Why would I waste 3 months going to court at least once a week for driving without insurance and be later fined £10 (60GHS) when at the time of the arrest, I could have just given the arresting policeman £2 (12 GHS) and be free?
You must be deeply insane not to bribe a policeman under such a waste of time and injustice legal/judiciary system. Being honest in Ghana fetches you only two things; unnecessary delays and no results. Justice and dignitary are for sale—and I am not even talking about the disgraced court officials.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ investigation has gotten almost every Ghanaian talking but it will be worth his pain if it leads to institutional reforms—and not the sacking or reassignment of the culprits. This is exactly what we always see following such revelations.
Until we tackle the root cause of bribery and corruption in Ghana by taking a closer look at our various porous systems that make such practices attractive (and sometimes the only reasonable alternative), this will end as usual; plenty of talks with a few unfortunate people losing their jobs and respect. And then we will be back to our beautiful corrupt country, Ghana…
Without robust and swift functioning institutions, every sane person will pay his way through to jump the unnecessary long queues or receive a deserving favour in Ghana. Inherently, this doesn’t mean the person is corrupt—the system is rather corrupt and people just have to play according to what works under the system.
So far about 22 judges and magistrates implicated have reportedly been suspended—leaving behind over 20 million Ghanaians who are probably corrupt or wouldn’t think twice to ease the pain the impractical Ghanaian system puts them under each day by paying their way through.
Surely, without institutional reforms and effective supervision, this is a waste of time and resource—and unworthy risk by the young journalist. He will find several corrupt men and women at every corner of Ghana.