The Bolgatanga circuit court has given a strange judgment that is likely to strike the public as a travesty after they learn that former Minister of State at the Presidency, Rockson Bukari has been allowed to walk free because his bribery was not targeted at a public officer.
Mr. Bukari was caught on tape bribing a journalist after the journalist uncovered him as being behind an illegal Chinese mining firm in the Northern part of the country.
According to reports, trial judge, Malcolm Bedrah, agreed with lawyers for Mr. Bukari and others who were involved in the infamous Shaanxi mining bribery scandal that the Police could not prove that Edward Adeti, the journalist who was offered a GHC 5000 bribe along with a motorbike to kill the story, was a public official.
It would be recalled that in April 2019, Rockson Ayine Bukari, resigned as Minister of State at the Presidency when a voice recording of himself bribing Edward Adeti, the Upper East regional correspondent of Starr FM to drop the story leaked.
Bukari had been involved in that bribery attempt together with Charles Taleog Ndanbon and Maxwell Wooma, of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and Suwaid Abdul-Mumin, the former personal assistant to the former minister.
In spite of the voice clip however, Judge Malcolm Bedrah reportedly acquitted and discharged Bukari and the gang on the grounds that Edward Adeti is not a public officer and so bribing him to drop a story about another judge potentially taking bribe to pervert justice was of no consequence.
Interestingly, the Constitution’s position on bribery is that it is a two-way affair where both the giver and the taker of bribe are guilty of an offence.
Consequently, if even Mr. Adeti is not a public officer and so bribing him is not an offence, Bukari who was offering the bribe was the then Minister of State at the Presidency and so must be culpable.
The judgment will also put into interesting perspective, the dismissal of a number of judges in the recent past after they had been caught on camera receiving bribes from ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.