Faibille And Kulendi Should Go And Tell Their Story To The Marines

Sat, 28 May 2011 Source: The Herald

Two weeks ago, four astute lawyers dared to walk into the lion’s den by stating bluntly the dreaded fact which even the god’s are afraid to say. The fact is that most men of the bench are corrupt, but hey, who will say the fetish priest’s teeth are red?

Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Mr. David Annan, Mr. Larry Bimi and Mr. Abraham Amaliba, at a round table discussion on the judiciary and Ghana’s justice system in Accra, organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) as part of its annual Constitution Week, opened their mouths too wide to accuse judges of taking bribe before deciding on cases.

This allegation has not gone down well with the Association of Magistrates and Judges. They have, therefore, written to the General Legal Council, demanding that the four men be summoned to substantiate the allegations, and further demanding that until the allegations are proved, they (the lawyers) would not be tolerated in their (Judges’ and magistrates) courts.

For how long can we continue to behave like ostriches and bury our heads in the sand? Perception of corruption has and will always be with us, there is no definitive indicator for measuring corruption, so it is and will always be perceived.

The four lawyer’s assertion springs from the many conversations they have had with people all over the country, in markets, hospital corridors, offices, outside police stations and in court rooms, people whose lives are being lived out in circumstances radically different from those depicted by the judiciary’s enthusiasts like Egbert Faible and Yony Kulendi.

Corruption in this country is endemic – from schools to our hospitals, to our law courts and most especially, among our politicians. Proving it is the most difficult of all. Why? Because the giver is as guilty as the receiver. So how would I go and offer bribe and turn round to come and complain when I’m also culpable before the law since my action is criminal?

Until Anas Armeyaw Anas, an ace-investigator with The New Crusading Guide, an Accra daily newspaper, exposed the corrupt activities going on at the Tema port, authorities of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) would have denied vehemently any corruption allegation leveled against them as untrue and baseless.

The judiciary mirrors the society. It is where we all seek redress when all agencies and organs of state have failed us; it is an important arm of government because when the Executive and the Legislature enact laws, it is the judiciary that interprets and gives meaning to them.

The law profession used to be a noble and upright one and to be on the bench was the wish of every lawyer. Judges exemplified themselves creditably in the past, as their disagreements with the government of the day saw some of them being dismissed.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, at a point during his administration, had problems with judges because he did not get the kind of decisions he wanted.

So also came Dr. Busia’s ‘no court’ decision, stemming from the fact that he lost Sallah’s Apollo 568 case. These examples are enough evidence of how noble members of the bench are, who were unfazed with consequences of their decisions from the ruling class.

Their main concern those days was about impartial adjudication of cases, and stood they by the principle that, in the case of any ambiguity, the law must protect the interest of the accused and the weak in society.

Every facet of our society is considered to be corrupt. Our only hope as a people is the judiciary. It is the last place we should be looking at as being corrupt. If justice is for sale to the highest bidder, then we are doomed.

If the law which is to protect the weak and provide voice for the voiceless can no longer be seen to be serving that purpose, then we had better abolish the system of democracy we are practising.

Equal rights and justice are guaranteed to everybody in our constitution, but if the rich can break the law with impunity because they can pay to get the kind of justice they seek, then the future of this country is bleak; the light that we seek at the end of the tunnel is only a mirage.

Lawyers like Egbert Faible and Yony Kulendi, who have suddenly become the spokespersons for the Judiciary, are either being hypocrites or are among the lawyers who give bribes to judges to influence their decisions.

What are these young men saying? Are they telling us that what the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodore Wood, said in 2009, that there is corruption in the judiciary, was tantamount to only blowing hot air? If she was wrong, why didn’t they point it out to her? Or are they saying that even within their fraternity there are some who are above the law?

If their defence of the judges is a way of getting unfettered favour from them, and to be in their good books, it is understandable, but to suggest that there is no corruption in the Judiciary is a big joke.

The four lawyers who made the allegation at the forum, did not do that out of malice or ill will. It is a profession they also belong to, and what better way to talk about something than when it is coming from within.

When the frog comes out of the water to tell you that the crocodile is sick, who are you to doubt it. The Chief Justice herself has said that there was corruption in the judiciary. Was she speaking from a vacuum? The CJ is privy to information in the judiciary than Faible and Egbert care to know.

Kulendi and Egbert, for whatever selfish reasons, are telling the whole world that there is no corruption in the judiciary. This is interesting indeed. They should go and tell the marines that, and stop disturbing our ears.

Judges are no saints, they can also succumb to pressures of the society; family needs etc, can push them to want to take bribe. After all, they are no more humans than the politicians who are paraded before them whenever there is a change of government.

What we have and should aspire for is the rule of law and not rule of men.

Columnist: The Herald