-As Chief Justice’s Denial Appears Seeming Choreographed
Civil society organisations (CSOs) and critics are demanding that Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah who has been accused of taking a US$5 million bribe to manipulate a court case should step down to allow for investigations into the criminal allegations levelled against him.
These calls are coming just when the accused Chief Justice today used the Judicial Secretary to issue a statement to the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to investigate the allegations.
But the Kumasi-based Centre for Ethical Governance and Administration (CEGA) thinks the Chief Justice’s position risks interfering in the investigations that have him as the principal accused.
Critics also think it is not within Kwasi Anin Yeboah’s right to use the Judicial Secretary to be issuing statements ordering the CID to investigate a potential crime that he has been named as a culprit and in his personal capacity.
Critics who have commented on the scandalous allegation are clamouring for an independent investigative authority to probe the multi-million-dollar bribery allegations against the Chief Justice, who is incidentally the overseer of the third realm of government (the Judiciary) which would be responsible for prosecuting him if he is indeed found culpable.
“In the interest of justice and fair play, we kindly request the Chief Justice who is also the Chairperson of the General Legal Council to step aside, at the very least, to allow thorough investigations into the allegations. It is in his interest to allow investigations than to sweep the allegations under the carpet as has been the case for some time now. Nothing short of this shall satisfy the good people of Ghana to rebuild their confidence in the sunken image of the judiciary and the law profession in general,” CEGA in a statement made available to Whatsup News slammed the Chief Justice.
“We accordingly call on all concerned, and those in authority as well as the general public to support our call for investigations into this serious matter by applying the necessary pressure on the authorities to heed to this reasonable and justifiable call. This will go a long way to portray us to the international community as a serious nation,” CEGA said in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Prof. Ohene Adjei, Executive Secretary Dr. Justice M.K Aheto and George Yankah its Director of Communications.
Already, there are suspicions brewing that the culprits named in the massive bribery scandal in the dubious Ghanaian judiciary may already be hatching a systematic cover-up as the denial by the Chief Justice appear similar to the denial of the bribe-giver, one Chief Oyeedom Obrani Kwesi Atta VI.
Both are claiming they do not know each other, despite the fact that the chief is known to be politically well-connected and that the Chief Justice had sat on a panel of judges that adjudicated his multi-million-dollar litigation against Ghana Telecom from 2019 through to 2021.
The scandal had exploded over the weekend when a Whistleblower lawyer Kwasi Afrifa, from the O&A Legal Consult who has been accused of professional misconduct, stated categorically in a letter to the General Legal Council that Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah had demanded a US$5 million bribe from Chief Oyeedom Obrani Kwesi Atta VI to undertake some “legal gymnastics” on the case against Ghana Telecom.
On March 1, 2021, the chief had petitioned the General Legal Council (GLC), accusing Afrifa of squandering some US$100,000 he paid him to undertake “ways and means gymnastics” at the Supreme Court to obtain a favourable judgment in his suit number J8/96/2020 against Ghana Telecom.
Afrifa was a lawyer contracted by the chief to join his legal team to defend him in the ongoing legal tussle with Ghana Telecom.
However, ahead of his appearance before the GLC to answer to the allegations against Afrifa, he [Afrifa] had written a startling petition alleging that he was kicked off the case and replaced with Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, President Akufo Addo’s led lawyer because some huge bribes changed hands to cause a favourable ruling for the chief.
Mr. Afrifa wrote that he had actually done several cases for the chief, including work at the National House of Chiefs and that Kwesi Atta IV in July 2020, told him that some of his well-connected friends had taken him [Chief Kwesi Atta VI] to see the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, who had agreed to undertake legal gymnastics for the chief to win his case against Ghana Telecom.
“He further informed me that the Chief Justice had demanded a bribe of USD 5,000,000.00for a successful outcome to his case and that he had already paid USD500,000.00 to the Chief Justice. He further informed me that he was hard-pressed to raise the remainder of the USD5,000,000.00 and so I should refund some of the GHC 300,000.00 paid to me as fees because he had in line the advice of the Chief Justice, engaged Akoto Ampaw Esq as Solicitor to continue the case before the Supreme Court,” Afrifa said in a damning revelation.
He continued: “Indeed, he told me that his own investigations which he caused the BNI to conduct shows that the Chief Justice was in the process of acquiring several properties at a posh residential area in Kumasi and therefore needed the money urgently. I told him I was simply not interested in his dealings with politicians and persons wielding power.”
Also, Whatsup News has intercepted a ruling on the substantive case that appears to confirm that lawyer Kwasi Afrifa was indeed replaced with Lawyer Akoto Ampaw during the course of the suit between Kwesi Atta VI and Ghana Telecom.
In an April 28, 2020 ruling on the case in the Supreme Court with a panel of seven judges, Kwasi Afrifa played a supporting role to Joseph Sam, the lead lawyer of the Chief. On the side of Ghana Telecom, the lead lawyers were Ace Ankomah, Shirley Out, and Gloria Coffie.
The Supreme Court judges that issued the ruling on the case were the Chief Justice himself, who chaired the panel; Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Gbadegbe, Justice Yaw Appau, Justice Pwamang, Justice Marful-Sau and Justice Kotey.
Curiously, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah was the only Judge who dissented in the ruling, raising even more suspicion that it was all part of the ruse.