Story by Peter Agengre
The National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption in Ghana (NAPAIC-Ghana) has called on the Chief Justice to reward some judges who distinguish themselves in their line of duty.
This is in line with NAPAIC’s observation of how a High Court Judge turned down what was suspected to be a bribe to induce him against a mining case he is handling at the High Court in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region.
According to NAPAIC-Ghana, the chief of Baare Naab Nyakora Mantii in the Talensi District and one Richard Yinbil, who is the secretary to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, were arrested for attempting to bribe the judge.
There was drama in the courtroom of the High Court in Bolgatanga, where the High Court Judge, His Lordship Alexander Graham, ordered the police to arrest two people who had come into the court premises to downplay his reputation.
The two gentlemen, a chief of Baare Naba Nyakora Mantii and the secretary to the Chief of Tongo, told officials of the court that they being sent by the Tongraan to deliver a message to the judge.
The judge had been briefed about their presence in the chambers. After a while, the judge stormed out of his chambers with the two Tongraana agents and into the courtroom, asking them to repeat what they had told him privately in his chambers to the hearing of the people in the courtroom. But there was total silence from the two agents.
They were arrested and handcuffed immediately on the Judge’s orders. A member of NAPAIC-Ghana Mr. Zuma Tii-roug gave further details of the drama.
“His Lordship furiously started by saying that he had issued warnings several times in his courtroom against people who might want to circumvent justice by visiting judges in their homes and in their chambers, and that this act was common in the Upper East Region.”
“He further stated that the Chief of Baare, Naab Nyakora Mantii, and the Secretary to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Richard Sunday Yinbil, came to him in his chambers and told him that they had been sent by the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, to invite him (the judge) to his palace to discuss some mining-related cases which the judge was presiding over and for the judge to understand the cases before him. They further told the judge that the Tongraan was an accountant, a member of the Council of State, a former board chairman of the Tema Oil Refinery, etc. His Lordship Alexander Graham considered their act as a trap and contemptuous.”
According to NAPAIC-Ghana, the bench of lawyers who were in the courtroom on different cases from Sunyani, Tamale, and Bolgatanga pleaded on behalf of the two accused persons and the Tongraana. One lawyer, Mohammed from Gbewa Chambers in Tamale, pleaded with the court not to give custodial sentences to the two accused persons and the Tongraana.
The two pleaded guilty to the charge and were convicted on their own plea. NAPAIC-Ghana is, however, commending the High Court Judge, His Lordship Alexander Graham, for exhibiting professionalism.
“We at NAPIAC-Ghana see the development recorded today within the Judicial Service of Ghana as one of the best actions led by a judge in the Upper East Region, and we humbly would ask of him to do more. We also would love to suggest to the Chief Justice of Ghana to identify good judges like His Lordship Alexander Graham and award them enormously to serve as motivation for others to emulate and to make the vulnerable also receive deserved justice when the need arises,” Mr. Zuma Tii-roug commended.
The Upper East Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Lawyer Abdulai Jalaldeen, who confirmed the incident to Radio Ghana, said it was up to him and colleague lawyers to intervene for the two to be pardoned.
He cautioned the general public against attempting to bribe and induce judges presiding over cases in their favor. The accused persons were convicted and made to sign a bond of six months and to be of good behavior before the Upper East Regional Police Command.