Judges Bribery Scandal: Clerks Watch Anas Video

Some officials of the Judicial Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) allegedly implicated in the Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé on massive corruption in the judiciary yesterday watched the video.

The staff, mostly clerks in the various courts where their judges were allegedly captured taking bribes, were said to be the facilitators of the bribery as the alleged bribes get to the judges through them.

For instance, Justice Kofi Essel Mensah, one of the 12 high court judges implicated in the video recordings, claimed that it was a certain clerk – Gabriel Achana – who brought Anas, who pretended to be a suspect’s relative, to him in the house, explaining that he never touched the money offered to him.

According to Justice Essel, there had been no instance where he had negotiated, accepted and received any money from Anas.

He had reportedly been accused by Tiger Eye PI, Anas’ investigative company, of receiving an amount of GH¢5,000 to influence him (judge) to acquit an accused person in the matter of the Republic Vs. one Mohammed Nii Baah. Some of the judges are fighting for survival as they initiate court action against the screening of the video at the Accra International Conference Centre.

The clerks who appeared at the Judicial Service headquarters at the Supreme Court area in Accra with their lawyers are expected to file their responses explaining why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

Over 180 clerks are said to have been implicated and 22 circuit court judges and magistrates have been suspended while 12 other superior court judges, mostly at the high courts, are facing possible impeachment for corruption over the bribery scandal that has rocked the judiciary.

The high-profile judges have been captured on either video or audio allegedly collecting bribes in order to give judgements in favour of those who had offered them – sometimes to the highest bidders.

Interesting Scenes
Egbert Fabille Jnr., a lawyer for four of the clerks, confirmed to journalists in an interaction that he had seen the video.

‘You can see that I came with a team of lawyers. We went to watch the movie, the so-called movie as some people will want to call it; very interesting scenes,’ he said.

According to Mr Fabille, from what he saw, the video should not be a conclusive basis for finding anybody guilty until those implicated had gone through due process.

He added, ‘Another conviction I have come to with my colleagues is that everybody wants to watch the video. Yes, I can understand the public anger and all of that but there are sensibilities and ethical moral considerations.’

Wondering what criteria would be used for those considerations, the lawyer was emphatic that in one or two of the videos, there were children.

‘At least I saw one child in the video. Are [we] going to show a child to the world because one of his or her parents was engaged in a discussion with somebody?’ Mr Fabille underscored.

He cautioned that the issue was about permanent records and that ‘the frenzy should come down.’

He however hinted that his clients would file their response after the receipt of certain documentation from the Judicial Service.

United JUSAG
However, Derrick Annan, JUSAG Secretary, said the association was in a meeting to consolidate the issues against their members.

This, he noted, was to enable them form a united front to battle the issue.

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