The Judicial Council has suspended 22 circuit court judges and magistrates effective 10 September 2015 following damming video evidence detailing bribery.
In a statement signed by Justice Opoku Acheampong, the Judicial Council has also put 12 High Court judges under investigation.
The statement was released Wednesday after a crucial meeting of the council to consider measure against the judges named in a petition presented by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Anas sent the two petitions one dated 31 August and addressed to the president. The other on 2 September 2015 to the Chief Justice.
The wheels of justice begin grinding
The award-winning investigative journalist in accordance with Article 146 asked the president to initiate impeachment proceedings against the High Court judges he says took bribes to pervert justice.
The 1992 Constitution lays down elaborate procedures in removing the a High Court judge and dictates that persons who wish to bring complaints of misconduct against a judge of the Superior Court must petition the president.
Article 146 (3) of the constitution states that “If the President receives a petition for the removal of Justice of a Superior Court other than the Chief Justice or for the removal of the Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, he shall refer the petition to the Chief Justice, who shall determine whether there is a prima facie case.”
The Judicial Council in its statement Wednesday said the president had written to Council asking the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood to take the appropriate steps.
Article 146 (1) of the constitution states that, “A Justice of the Superior Court or a Chairman of the Regional Tribunal shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incompetence or on ground of inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity of body or mind.”
The Chief Justice has instituted a five-member disciplinary committee head by a Supreme Court judge to establish a prima facie case against the 12 High Court judges.
The Committee will also look out for other court officials and clerks who may have collaborated in the bribery scandal.
“On September 7, 2015 the circuit judges and magistrates were served with letters stating the allegations against them and asked to submit their responses by September 9 2015.
“The Judicial Council further decided that upon receipt of the responses, the 22 judges and magistrates have accordingly been suspended with effect from Thursday September 10, 2015,” the statement said
Until a final determination on the case is made, the 22 judges remain suspended, a statement read.
The Judicial Council stressed that perception and actualities of corruption in the justice system undermines the judiciary.
Panic strikes judges
Five names of judges have already popped up including Justice John Ajet-Nassam, a High Court Judge, who freed Alfred Agbesi Woyome in the controversial Gh¢51 million judgment debt scandal, are among those cited in the corruption scandal.
Others are Justice Essel Mensah, Justice Charles Quist, Justice Peter U. Dery of the Human Rights Court and Justice Obimpe.
Already the news of the investigations by the popular journalist has struck fear and panic in what is already the biggest scandal to hit the judiciary.
Some have been hospitalized, collapsed and the stronger ones are fighting to keep the video out of public viewing.
There is a premier of the video set for 22 September at the Accra International Conference Center in Accra.
In what many believe is a judgment of God on human judges, Ghanaians are jubilating on social media and applauding Anas.
The cups of corrupt judges are full, social media is buzzing.
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