Bar Association Divided Over Veiled Threats To Muntaka In Judge’s Bribery Saga

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) appears to have developed cracks as a member of the Association rejects the veiled threats from the GBA on opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s Chief Whip in Parliament Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak over his allegation that a Judge has been involved in a serious bribery case.

Lawyer Fui Tsikata, a renowned lawyer and a member has said that the GBA leadership’s response to Hon. Muntaka Mubarak’s revelation was hypocritical and only tiptoes around the substantive dent the Supreme Court judge’s bribery scandal has dealt on the image of the apex court.

 “In the first place, it is not clear to me whether the National Executive is seeking to reflect the consensus or dominant opinion of members of the Bar or sees itself as offering leadership without particular regard to the views of its members. I am afraid that the statement will only serve to reinforce the rather widespread view that the GBA is not a credible, non-partisan or principled voice in matters on which there is a divide between the major political parties in Ghana,” Tsikata wrote in a statement.

 “Is the National Executive aware of the allegation, in a sworn affidavit, that agents of someone who is now in Parliament beat up court bailiffs attempting to serve a court order on him? Is that a matter of concern and, if so, have you discussed it?”

The sentiments of the respected lawyer were conveyed in what can be described as an open letter to GBA President, Anthony Forson, who together with the National Secretary of the Association had released a statement virtually threatening Muntaka for daring to expose the bribery attempt by a Supreme Court judge.

As Muntaka revealed, during the election for Speaker of Parliament, a Supreme Court judge had called an NDC MP and asked her to vote for Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, the NPP’s nominee for Speaker.

The judge is said to have promised to pay the MP’s children’s school fees and also ply here with free fuel for the next four years. However, the said MP declined and joined her colleagues to rather elect the NDC’s Alban Bagbin as Speaker.

In response to the revelation, the GBA released a statement demanding that Hon. Muntaka provides the name of the judge in question or retracts and apologize to the Judiciary.

While making this demand in the statement, the GBA statement also called Hon. Muntaka Mubarak’s revelation, “distasteful and offensive.” 

Many have wondered why after the GBA had demanded for substantiation of the allegation, it did not wait for answers but went ahead to prejudge the comments as distasteful.

Lawyer Fui Tsikata pointed out that those declarations by the GBA were prejudicial and unfair saying the jaundiced position of the GBA only serves to nourish the widespread perception that the GBA is not neutral and relevant.

“Several passages of the statement are devoted to condemning allegations against the judiciary as “distasteful and offensive”, which appears to prejudge the issue as to whether or not there has been “distasteful”, “offensive” or “demeaning” conduct on the part of any members of the judiciary. We run the risk of being irrelevant were sorely needed independent voices are sought if this statement exemplifies the direction in which the National Executive is taking the GBA,” Tsikata wrote.

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