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19.03.2004 General News

"Bribed" Judge Cleared

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Inside story of set-up to disrupt sentence Police exonerates him of corruption charges

AFTER AN INTENSIVE investigation into an allegation of bribery against an Accra High Court Judge, Justice Anthony Abada, the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has exonerated the law lord of the ¢5 million bribery allegation recently levelled against him.

Gye Nyame Concord sources at the Police Headquarters in Accra have told this reporter that the bribery allegation which appeared in the state-owned Daily Graphic almost a month ago was found to be baseles.

Sources say a Police report clearing the Justice Ababda has been forwarded to the office of the Chief Justice, and therefore the Judicial Secretary and the Public Relations Office of the Judicial Service are not oblivious of the existence of the report.

The sources, therefore, wondered why the report has not been released to correct the damning story which dented the reputation of the sitting High Court Judge as well as the Judiciary. The Police report is believed to be under lock and key, leaving many insiders of the Judiciary to wonder why it has not been made public.

“Judges are not supposed to be heard in publi. That is why it's incumbent on the Chief Justice to make the report public and demand the Graphic withdraw the story”, a police source peeved at the earlier report in the state-owned media told this reporter.

The Daily Graphic reported on March 1, 2004, that the CID had information that the judge, who had convicted some people for contempt in a chieftaincy dispute was under police investigation following claims that he demanded ¢5 million from the convicts to ameliorate their sentence.

However, the Daily Graphic, sources say advertently or inadvertently failed to inform the public on vital and critical information within the reporter's knowledge that the Judge's house was thoroughly searched by over 20 police and intelligence officers for barely two hours during the weekend before the Graphic publication on Monday without any money being found.

Sources say the house of Justice Ababda was turned “upside down” and “inside out”, with every nook and cranny of the four walls in the residence, including the bedrooms, sitting room, bath room, flower pots, cloths, children school bags, being searched.

The money which bore identifiable serial numbers could however not be found.

Latest information suggests that the bribery allegation could be a set-up calculated to disrupt the sentencing of the group of respondents in a contempt case in which they had already been convicted by the Judge and were awaiting sentencing.

The case involved Tetteh Ahinakwa II as plaintiff. The defendants, who were convicted of contempt were Nii Armah Quaye, John Aryee, Oko Aryittey, Percy Nii Addy and Robert Teiko .

Sources say the same group were involved in an attempt to set up another Judge under similar trappings two years ago. The judge in question was Mrs. Anderson Yeboah, whose dismissal from the bench as a result of the trap was loudly protested by her to the General Legal Council and former CJ Wiredu.

In the original Graphic report, Mr. Jarfro Mensah Larkai, who acted as middleman and was later arrested reportedly went to inform the convicts about Justice Abada's alleged demands, and that the agents of the convicts handed over to the judge through Larkai ¢5 million. They also copied out the serial numbers of the notes.

The Police however arrested Larkia when he emerged from the residence of the judge at Cantonment, a suburb of Accra around 9. 30pm after Justice Abada had seen him off.

According to the Graphic, when Larkai was searched at the residence, only ¢2 million of the amount which bore the serial numbers was found on him. He was reportedly then taken to the Police Headquarter and placed in custody.

The report stated when Larkai was questioned about the ¢3 million, he said he had given it to the judge.

The report said based on Larkai's confession, three senior officers including a Commissioner of Police stormed Abada's court around 10.30am whilst he was sitting, interrupted the court and invited him to the Police Headquarters with the blessing of the Chief Justice.

According to the report, Justice Abada denied ever receiving any money from Larkai but acknowledged that he knew Larkai, and that it was a former Chief Justice who introduced Larkai to him.

Gye Nyame Concord has however picked up latest information indicating that Larkai, who is an uncle to one of the lawyers in the contempt proceedings before justice Abada, was part of a grand design not only to disrupt sentencing of the convicts for contempt of court, but also to bring shame onto the Judge.

He has made several moves through some lawyers and prominent individuals to apologise to the judge to no avail, sources close to the case told this paper.

A sample opinion conducted by this paper of seasoned lawyers, who preferred to remain anonymous, at the Cocoa Affairs Court precinct shows that Justice Abada is regarded as one of the finest in the appreciation of the law at the High Court.

Though Justice Abada declined to speak on the issue when reached for his comment, family sources say he may seek legal redress if the Graphic fails in withdrawing its earlier report.

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