Spokesperson of GBA, Saviour Kudze

The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Bar Association, Saviour Kudze, has admonished judges to maintain high levels of integrity in the course of their service to the nation, eschewing actions that may bring the judiciary to disrepute.

His comment was in relation to the survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) dubbed, ‘2021 Ghana Integrity of Public Services Survey’.

According to the report, Lands Commission officers, prosecutors, judges or magistrates and immigration officers are the top three categories of public officials who received the largest cash bribes paid in 2021.

The average highest cash bribe [GHc1, 669] was paid to Lands Commission officers, followed by prosecutors, judges or magistrates with an amount of GHC1,208 and GHC950 for immigration officers.

Reacting to the survey, Saviour Kudze noted that it was rather surprising that bribery was still pervasive within the judiciary especially when investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ damning expose of corruption in the judiciary happened not long ago.

He is, however, convinced that the corrupt actions are the handiwork of a few judges and magistrates and not the majority.

“The judiciary is a human institution; of course, we cannot have it all correct all the time. But the percentage assigned is what is alarming. … Why should we still be having this? But I think it all boils down to the individuals involved. But I can also say that I am not convinced that many judges will demand bribe, but people will approach them,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express.

He noted that the only way to deal with the poor perception of judges in the public’s viewpoint and break the arm of corruption, was for judges to maintain high levels of integrity.

“You applied for a job as a judge; you’ve been interviewed; you’ve been given an appointment letter; your terms of contract are spelt out; the only thing I expect of you is improvement in your conditions of service and nothing else because people were not able to solve a problem, that is why they are there for you to solve problems.

“You are the demigod or mini-god on earth so you must act as such. So integrity is important. Warren Buffet once said; expect three things in a person – intelligence, energy and integrity if the last one is not there, forget about the first two. And that is what I think our judges should be thinking about,” he said.

He added that “But as I said I do not sincerely believe that many judges, magistrates will demand bribes. So the intermediaries and the court users, including us lawyers – it is us who will try to influence them. But it depends on them [the judges] to call in the police anytime such attempts are made, that is where their integrity will be put to use.”

He continued, “Because if you’re a man of integrity and your word is that I will not take bribes then any attempt at bribing me I’ll let the law take its course. People know bribery is an offence, why would you be bold enough to approach a judge? Would a judge be bold enough to ask for bribe? But temptation is there so people will approach you, but if you’re not strong enough, you’ll fall for that.”