President John Mahama says recent suspension of seven judges implicated in the Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposé on judicial corruption points to the strength of Ghana’s judicial system.
He said the scandal reflects “institutional weakness that we need to work on and make sure we have stronger institutions”. However he said he sees the suspension of the judges as showing “the robustness of our system”.
“There’s been a focus on the scandal that was generated without focusing also on the fact that there were at least ten judges whose integrity was intact; who threatened to call the police on this investigative journalist,” he said.
The President was speaking to Paris-based France 24. The President is in France on a three-day state visit.
He earlier met with President Francoise Hollande and delivered an address to the French Senate.
President Mahama told France 24 that once due process has been exhausted all the judges found guilty will lose their jobs and face criminal proceeding where necessary.
President Mahama on Monday suspended seven high court judges caught on camera allegedly taking bribes. The President took the action on the advice of the Judicial Council.
The judges suspended are:
His Lordship Justice Francis K. Opoku
His Lordship Justice Kofi Essel Mensah
His Lordship Justice John AjetNasam
His Lordship Justice Ernest Obimpeh
His Lordship Justice Kwame OheneEssel
Her Ladyship Justice Ivy Heward-Mills (Mrs.)
His Lordship Justice Gilbert Ayisi Addo.
Mahama said the suspension of these judges shows that Ghana is committed to following the constitutional procedure.
“The petition [to remove the judges] was presented, the Chief Justice [Georgina Wood] presented it to me, I wrote the letter giving her the permission to go ahead with investigating if a prima facie case has been established she wrote back indicting seven of the judges, I have written back asking her to go ahead with the investigation,” President Mahama explained.
Anas petitioned the President to remove the said judges from the Bench which was forwarded to Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to initiate steps in accordance with the constitution to establish their guilt or otherwise.