The decision by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), at its 268th meeting, to subject to disciplinary action Mr. Chris Ackumey, an Accra-based legal practitioner who claims to have actively participated in the bribing of a now-deceased judge, in order to unduly influence the outcome of a judicial proceeding, could not be more opportune (See “GBA Condemns Conduct of Five Lawyers” Ghanaweb.com 7/14/11).
While, indeed, the deceased judge allegedly involved in this unethical and criminal act of bribery and corruption has absolutely no way of defending his reputation and professional integrity, nonetheless, the fact of Mr. Ackumey having publicly confessed to the crime and, presumably, submitted sworn testimony vehemently backing up the same, makes it incontrovertibly imperative for the Ghana Bar Association to mete out any disciplinary measures that this august institution of social justice deems to be commensurate with such flagrant breach of public trust.
It is also laudable for the GBA to underscore the fact that it would not under any circumstances countenance any forensically provable act of judicial prejudice preferred against any sitting judge of any legitimately constituted court of law in Ghana.
The preceding observation, of course, clearly underscores the fact that the possibility of corrupt conduct may very well prevail among some members of the bench, at least in theory, in view of the fundamental fact of human frailty, to speak much less about outright human depravity.
The preceding notwithstanding, any malicious attempt on the part of any citizen, legal practitioner or laity, to malign members of the judiciary for the sake of raw mischief must be severely sanctioned, including the imposition of a prison sentence.
The Ghana Bar Association also needs to send a strong warning to unconscionable nation-wreckers like former President Jerry John Rawlings, who have been obsessively engaged in the reckless rhetorical politicization of the judiciary, as a means of manipulating this otherwise august institution into serving as a docile tool for settling personal scores with their ideological opponents and enemies.
As already noted in a previous article, it is rather pathetic, albeit quite frightening, to learn that all the five lawyers said to be guilty of judicial sabotage are key operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). This is absolutely no coincidence at all, for scarcely a week ago, for example, Mr. Rawlings, the man who has unarguably done more to considerably undermine the integrity and confidence of the country’s judicial system, was bitterly complaining about the bench having been heavily stacked with New Patriotic Party partisans when, in reality, Mr. Rawlings has appointed more judges than any Ghanaian leader, including President Kwame Nkrumah!
Needless to say, historically, when he has not been engaged in the rhetorical harassment and denigration of the judicial system, the NDC founder has been criminally engaged in the contract assassination of high court judges. And so, really, what we find in the largely unsubstantiated and reckless allegations of Messrs. Raymond Atuguba, Abraham Amaliba, Larry Bimi, David Annan and Chris Ackumey is a deliberately orchestrated attempt at summary judicial incrimination, in predictable preparation of an open season of judicial intimidation and persecution in a bid to hijacking the august Ghanaian judicial system and transforming it into a veritable instrument of “legitimate torture” at the beck of the movers and shakers of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
On the preceding score, of course, it goes without saying that far too many ordinary Ghanaians and members of the judiciary have spilled their blood in an admirably steely attempt at preserving the democratic principles of freedom and justice to allow these clinical terror-mongers to have their way.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of 22 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005).