Three judges who were removed from office as high court justices over the Anas judicial scandal, have sued Ghana at the ECOWAS court challenging their impeachment by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Justice Uuter Paul Dery, Justice Ayisi Addo, and Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, are praying the court to reinstate them “with full benefits and without loss of seniority,” as well as stop the Ghana Police or any institution from taking any criminal action against them.
The three judges who were filmed by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas allegedly receiving bribes in cash and kind to influence their judicial decisions were removed by President Akufo-Addo on December 6.
Justice Dery loses “half-salary” battle at Supreme Court
This was after the Judicial Committee established by the Chief Justice to investigate the scandal recommended their removal from office.
Though the three have since September 2015 been fighting the State to protect their jobs, Nana Akufo-Addo acting on the recommendation, removed them from office “on the grounds of bribery and corruption”.
But the three judges are crying foul in the proceedings leading up to their dismissal, which they alleged are in clear breach of their human rights under Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples ‘Rights.
The three judges already have a case pending at the Abuja-based ECOWAS court.
ECOWAS court asks Ghana to hold on with impeachment of Justice Dery, 2 others
In November this year, the court rejected an application to refrain Ghana from commencing disciplinary proceedings against the three judges.
According to the three judges, the Judiciary did not serve any notice on them to appear for any disciplinary proceedings after their action to stop same failed.
They claim the Judicial Committee did not invite or give them a hearing in the disciplinary proceedings which resulted in their removal from office.
“It therefore follows that the committee is in violation of the applicants rights to be heard, conducted the said investigations in the absence of the applicants and found them culpable and recommended their removal from office,” the writ by the three judges stated in part.
Justice Dery, Ayisi and Logoh said the committee also established that they “committed a criminal offence” hence directed that the Police look into that.
I’m not on suspension, I’m just on my leave – Justice Dery But the judges are arguing it since Ghana violated their rights to fair hearing and fair trial as enshrined in international treaties to which Ghana is a party, the court should nullify the Committee’s report.
They are also seeking compensation for breach of their rights.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas in September 2015 released a video documentary of an investigation which showed more than 100 judicial staff including court clerks and 34 judges at the country’s High Courts, District and Magistrate courts allegedly taking bribes from litigants to compromise justice delivery in cases before them in the various courts.
The three-hour edited video, which is the result of a two-year painstaking investigation into the judiciary by the award winning investigative journalist, triggered a number of law suit against him, his Tiger Eye PI investigation team and other individuals.
Some of the High Court judges indicted in the corruption quagmire initially filed a motion in a bid to stop the public screening of the video at the Accra International Conference Centre but that failed.
But that was just the beginning of a number of suits to come. Currently, Anas is caught in a legal web with some of the judges, including Justice UP Derry who has filed multiple cases from the High Court to the Supreme Court.
At least 25 of the judges implicated in the scandal have been dismissed from the Judicial Service in accordance with regulation 27 (2) of the Judicial Service Regulation 27 (2) after they were found guilty of stated misconduct.