Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who
- Haile Selassie
The Case of the 34 Corrupt Judges (sounds rather like an episode of a Perry Mason courtroom drama) should be the ugliest and the most embarrassing scandal in the history of our young country Ghana. The shocking exposé of naked bribery within the ranks of the judiciary has shaken the very foundations of the nation, with most Ghanaians reeling with astonishment. Perhaps the most disgusting aftershock is the claim by some members of the legal profession that they knew about corrupt practices in the judiciary all along, but did not speak up for some reason!
If our judiciary can be corrupt to this extent, then Ghana is indeed a haven for criminals, because the price to pay to be “acquitted and discharged” is relatively small compared with the proceeds of crime!
No wonder white-collar criminals are having a field day, and violent criminals are roaming free. After all, it takes just a few thousand cedis to bribe a crooked judge or magistrate to evade the long arm of the law. It is a very dire situation.
Loading the scales of justice to favour criminals is the epitome of injustice. So how could any Ghanaian be aware of such unfairness and look the other way? That means someone knew about an armed robber being let off the hook, but they kept mute! Someone knew about officials diverting millions of taxpayer cedis into their private bank accounts, but they didn’t sound the alarm. It could also mean people are languishing in jail for crimes they didn’t commit because the judgment favoured the litigant who was prepared to buy (literally speaking) the verdict. Very somber indeed.
Surprisingly, some of those who turned a blind eye to the unethical and unfair practices in the judiciary are legal professionals who are supposed to know better. That’s a shame.
What is even more shameful is that these cowardly legal practitioners say they refused to speak up, because they didn’t want to rock the boat. One lawyer is reported to have said he kept quiet for fear of losing his job!
I would have thought lawyers of all people are supposed to know about the Whistle Blowers Act and the immunity it offers to whistleblowers!
Thanks to Anas A. Anas, we now know for sure that some of our highly-esteemed judges and magistrates don’t even deserve to be addressed as “Your Honour.” And it is ridiculous for anyone to come out now and claim they had foreknowledge of corruption in the judiciary if they made no attempt to fight it.
Perhaps the crooked judges had the guts to be brazenly corrupt just because their “honest” colleagues were too timid to either confront them or blow the whistle.
And please let no one claim that they knew about crooked judges and magistrates, their agents, and the dangerous business of selling justice, and yet never lifted a finger to try to stop it. Their muteness is probably the reason why this terrible injustice went on for so long.
The 34 judges and magistrates who were caught red handed have let their country down, no doubt. Their tarnished reputation and the shame alone may be enough punishment for them. But for me, the silence and inaction of people – especially members of the legal community - who did nothing to stop the fraudulent judges, is unpardonable.
Proofreading this article was easy with Grammarly, my favourite writing app.
Written by: Theo Acquah
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