In the 2nd week of June 2019, an audio on an alleged bribery involving the Kumawu Circuit Court magistrate, bailiff and registrar, became known to the Ghanaian and worldwide public. It went viral on WhatsApp. One Madam Akua Berhene from the Kumawu Ananangya royal family, a malevolent dissenter, was secretly recorded during a telephone conversation with an undercover investigator disguised as one of the Kumawu palace linguists going by the name Okyeame Kodua.
She claimed to have influenced the magistrate and the registrar with money to stop them from finalising the work on an injunction sought by the Head of the Ananangya royal family, Nana Darkwah. The purported injunction was to prevent her from performing the burial ceremony of Nana Damte, the late Ananangya chief, in the capacity of the Women's head of the family. Additionally, the injunction would have challenged the legitimacy of Madam Berhene as the Women's head of the family and also, one Jack, as the Head of the family (Abusuapanin) appointed by her.
Truly as said by her, the magistrate did not proceed to authenticate the injunction. The attitude of the magistrate and that of all those alleged to have facilitated or participated in the bribery scandal amount not only to exhibition of unprofessionalism, but a breach of Sections 239 to 247 of the Ghana Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29). They have committed misdemeanour, an offence frowned upon by the Criminal Code as cited.
However, what the magistrate is alleged to be saying in his defence when he became aware of the audio is a complete insult on the intelligence of Ghanaians and a mockery of the Ghana judicial system. He is alleged to have said, "If you offer a gift to someone, how can you claim that as a bribery?" He means to tell anyone of the opinion that he has taken bribe that the money was a gift from Madam Berhene to her. What did he do to merit the offer of gift by her?
Be that as it may, why did he not finalise the job on the injunction but left it unfinished as asserted by Madam Berhene to render the application for the injunction ineffective same as sought for by her? This fact alone is enough to change his gift into bribery same as claimed by Madam Akua Berhene. Therefore, without any ifs or buts, the magistrate has accepted bribe and he must be ashamed of himself. By his failure to turn up in court to sign the injunction, thereby permitting her to proceed to bury the remains of the late Nana Damte, the chief of Kumawu Ananangya in the capacity of the Women's Head of the family with Jack as her enstooled Abusuapanin, the magistrate could likely be accused of perverting the course of justice.
If he were in the United Kingdom, France, Germany or the USA, just to mention a few of the civilized strongly entrenched democracies, he would not only have been sent packing, but sent to jail. Therefore, his seemingly exonerating defence is preposterous and cacophonous music to the ears.
Why has corruption eaten so deeply into the fabrics of Ghana judges and the personnel of the Ghana judicial system? Could the Chief Justice please offer me a convincing explanation?
In my opinion, as someone conversant with how judges in Europe and USA discharge their duties with utmost professionalism, with those found to stray from the correct path in discharging their duties punished, the Kumawu magistrate has accepted bribe, but not any genuine gift. He has absolutely no defence to make but to accept that he has been bribed. A judge who is influenced with any gift to decide differently than he normally would is deemed to have taken bribe; period!
The following is what Madam Berhene said. So between her and the magistrate, who is telling the truth and who is lying, please public readers, make your informed decisions.
For the attention of the Kumawu magistrate, he had better watch the exposé on Ghana judicial corruption by Anas Aremeyaw Anas that led to the dismissal of some judges. They were all induced with gifts to twist justice in favour of those who would otherwise be found guilty.
Again, check the following examples out of many as had taken place in Europe and America.
"Judge Constance Briscoe found guilty of lying to police"
U.S. JUDGE ACCUSED OF TAKING A BRIBE
Thursday, 8 August 2019