General News of 2014-04-24

Lawyers take bribe in the name of judges – Justice Apau

The judgment debt commissioner has blamed corruption in the judiciary on some lawyers, court clerks and other officials.

The sole commissioner, Justice Yaw Apau, an Appeal court judge, says from his experience at the bench, corruption in the judiciary is not from judges.

He made the comment at the Judgment Debt Commission’s sitting on Wednesday.

He recalled how his personal interpreter went about telling people that he translates whatever they say to the judge in English “so if you want anything to [get to him] you just pass it through me, and he collects huge sums of money” from them [litigants].

He said persons, who offer those bribe start murmuring if judgment does not go in their favour after supposedly bribing the judge.

He remembered, then as the president of Judges Association, the Parliamentary Committee on Judiciary set up a committee to investigate corruption in the judiciary, but at the end “there wasn’t an instance that somebody came forward to say I went to the judge personally and gave him money".

He accused court registrars, clerks, police officers and lawyers of corrupting the judicial system.

“Some lawyers charge fees and charge for judges too,” he claimed. But President of the Greater Accra Bar Association, Frank Davies, told Joy News that the commissioner’s claim was “not so accurate”; adding that it is also “not fair” for him to label all lawyers as corrupt.

“There could be judges, who are also corrupt,” he explained.

Although he would not dispute claims by Justice Apau because there are bad nuts in every institution, Mr. Davies said lawyers found to have indulged in corrupt practices should be sanctioned accordingly.