Catholic Bishops Unhappy With Judicial Corruption

The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has expressed disquiet over the recent bribery scandal uncovered within Ghana’s judiciary by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

According to the Bishops, the exposé in which some judges were heard and seen on audio-visual tapes taking bribes in cash and kind from culprits in return for judgments has the potential of tainting Ghana’s image internationally.

In a press statement signed by Most Rev Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong and President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the bishops stated: ‘We note with worry and pain the negative impact and potential damage that this might have done to the image of our nation in the international community.’

According to the statement, the current bribery report is a ‘report that has woken all of us from our slumber and one that will be spoken about in the years to come.’

The Bishops therefore called ‘on all citizens to rise up to a change of attitude and behaviour that eschews bribery, corruption and other negative tendencies that weaken the pride of Ghana.’

They stated: ‘We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, believe that Ghanaians still have the ability to work together in fighting against the twin diseases of bribery and corruption that have bedevilled our country for some time now.’

Wake-Up Call
According to their statement, ‘this exposé is another wake-up call to all Ghanaians to come to terms with the extent to which bribery and corruption has eaten into the very fabric of the Ghanaian society and to dare to tackle the canker head-on in both our private and social lives.’

It further stated that ‘this alleged scandal has generated all the attention it has generated because it involves the third arm of Government and the very foundation upon which the nation and for that matter every civilised nation in the world is built (i.e. the rule of law).’

The Bishops noted that they have on countless occasions through various communiqués, pastoral letters and press statements, among others, spoken about the twin evils of bribery and corruption in Ghana, emphasising the need for all to deal with this canker to save Ghana from collapsing under ‘the unbridled love for money.’

Meanwhile, the bishops have commended Anas and his investigative team for constantly unearthing deep-rooted corruption within public offices in Ghana.

‘We encourage them to carry on this fight against corruption without fear and we assure them of our prayers. We are pleased with the assurances by the Ghana Police Service that they are giving the necessary protection and security to Anas and his team and pray that the same protection and security will be extended to their families and close relatives,’ they added.

The Catholic Bishops also commended ‘those judges and magistrates who were resolute and steadfast in rejecting the offer of bribes and not succumbing to the temptation of lust for money and we hold them as examples and rays of light and hope for all Ghanaians in general and lawyers in particular to emulate.’

Meanwhile, the said investigative video was screened publicly at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday, even though some of the affected bribe-taking judges, especially Justice Paul Uuter Dery, had attempted to use legal means to stop its public screening.

BY Melvin Tarlue

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