NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on Parliament to invoke Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution to compel President Akufo-Addo, to establish a Commission of Inquiry to probe the $5million bribery allegation levelled against the Chief Justice, Kwesi Annin-Yeboah.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu said, “though these allegations have a component of criminality, it is in equal measure about alleged misconduct on the part of a judge and as such it would ordinarily fall within the ambit of the Judicial Service to take steps to unravel the truth about this matter and take disciplinary action if proven to be true.

This is exactly what was done in the bribery expose’ of ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas against some Judges few years ago.”

He, however, explained that the Chief Justice, who is the accused in the said matter, cannot as well be the very authority to set up a committee to investigate and declare judgement.

“The difficulty, however, with is this is that the investigations would concern the Chief Justice who is the subject of the bribery allegation in this matter and in whom disciplinary authority against judicial officers is vested under section 18 of the Judicial Service Act.

Therefore, good governance dictates that the Chief Justice steps aside during the pendency of the investigations by the Judicial Service relative to the issue of alleged misconduct on his part, as a Supreme Court Judge,” he stated.

The opposition party, therefore, wants Parliament to compel the President to set up a Commission of Inquiry to ensure transparency and make a faithful determination thereof.

According to Mr Asiedu Nketia, the party believes that this is the, “only credible and transparent investigations that can establish the truth in this matter. And we hold the opinion that the transparent approach of a public enquiry is the best way to go. This approach, we believe, is in the interest of the Chief Justice who stands accused and his accuser.”

Alternatively, the NDC also wants the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), which has an enviable reputation of looking into similar cases of alleged corruption against highly placed state and government officials, to take up the role of a public inquiry.

A Kumasi-based Lawyer, Akwasi Afrifa, Esq, made the allegation in a letter circulating on social media. The letter is a response to an invitation by the General Legal Council for him to appear before it, in relation to a petition by his former client, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV, for failing to pay an amount of $75,000 he (Akwasi Afrifa, Esq) owes the latter.

Lawyer, Akwasi Afrifa, Esq, alleged that his former client, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV informed him that Chief Justice Kwesi Annin-Yeboah, “demanded a bribe of USD5,000,000 for a successful outcome of his case and that he had already paid USD500,000 to the Chief Justice.” The case under reference is OGYEEDOM OBRANU KWESI ATTA IV V GHANA TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY & LANDS COMMISSION.

On his part, the Chief Justice has dismissed allegations levelled against him, to the effect, that he demanded a $5million bribe to influence a case pending before the Supreme Court.

A letter to the Inspector General of Police dated July 12, signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, stated, “His Lordship asserts that he has not demanded or received any money from any person to influence any decision in this matter or any other matter.”

The letter further disclosed that the Chief Justice, “does not know the plaintiff and has not met or seen him anywhere, except in the courtroom when he rises to announce his name when his case is called. His Lordship asserts that he has had no personal interaction either with the plaintiff or his lawyer on this matter or in any other matter.”

To this effect, Chief Justice Kwesi Annin-Yeboah has requested the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the matter and directed that a petition be lodged with the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council in respect of this specific matter.

The latter directive by the Chief Justice has, however, been opposed by the National Democratic Congress stating that the General Legal Council (GLC) cannot take up such a mandate while the Chief Justice remains at post.

General Secretary, Asiedu Nketia stated that the likelihood for an impartial and balanced investigation by the GLC into this matter would be quite minimal.

“We, therefore, believe that the GLC should stay its hands over this matter pending the final determination of the issue by independent state organizations cloaked with the requisite authority to do so,” he concluded.