Opinions Mon, 28 Sep 2015

Right to privacy, Yes, but not right to bribery in private

I am in perfect agreement with Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, lawyer for Justices Paul U. Dery and Mustapha Habib Logoh, that the two embattled high court judges have a right to privacy as Ghanaian citizens (See “Justices Dery, Logoh Have Rights; They Are Asserting Them” MyJoyOnline.com 9/26/15). In the main, Counsel Addo is seeking to have audiovisual documentary evidence shockingly indicating that Messrs.

Dery and Logoh criminally compromised their public trust, by using their offices as high court judges to demand and receive kickbacks, to be thrown out of court. Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, on the other hand, is seeking the removal of Justices Dery and Logoh from the bench, following apocalyptic revelation by Anas Aremeyaw Anas that these two judges, as well as some 32 others, do not deserve to occupy any judicial benches in the land.

The problem that Nii Addo, the lawyer for Messrs. Dery and Logoh, is not frontally addressing, for obvious reasons, of course, is the inviolable fact that the two indicted high court judges have absolutely no right to demand bribes in the performance of their already salaried jobs. Needless to say, if Justices Dery and Logoh strongly believed that they were poorly paid, and were finding it extremely difficult to eke out a decent existence, then the most responsible and honorable thing for these two men to have done, ought to have been for them to promptly resign their posts and seek better paying jobs.

Criminally abusing their public trust and offices to either jeopardize or totally destroy the lives of responsible and law-abiding Ghanaians was not part of their professional terms of reference. And for them to so shamelessly and unconscionably seek to incriminate Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas, for patriotically exposing them, on grounds of their right to privacy, could not be more absurd.

The veteran investigative journalist had a far greater right and inalienable obligation to expose Messrs. Dery and Logoh, if he could be shown to have had good reasons and causes to believe that the 34 members of the bench caught on videotape accepting bribes were criminally using their paid offices to deprive other equally no less Ghanaian citizens of their right to justice and a fair trial, then, of course, no amount of cleverly invoked legal technicalities could let these two men off the hook. Merely using privacy rights to vacuously and criminally scam and maim, as well as destroy, citizens dependent on their trust and professionalism, is constitutionally untenable, and they need to be told as such in no uncertain terms.

Indeed, if these two men are convinced that it is illegal for Chief Justice Wood to use the contents of Mr. Anas’ stinging audiovisual documentary to unseat them from the bench, then it is, of course, up to Messrs. Dery and Logoh to prove their case in a court of law. The mere invocation of their right to privacy ought not to be envisaged to be one their legitimate refutation tacks. At least, so far, Messrs. Dery and Logoh have amply demonstrated to the global community at large that they have absolutely no respect for Ghana’s judicial system.

And so why would Nii Addo, the counsel for Messrs. Dery and Logoh, so cavalierly presume that, somehow, his clients are above the law, but that Monsieur Anas and his yeomanly staff of Tiger-Eye Private Investigators, on the other hand, are inextricably bound by the laws of the land. That we are residents of an Orwellian Animal Farm? Come on!
Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.