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CJ Fights Judicial Corruption

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The Chief Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo says the Judiciary would not relent on its fight against corruption within the judiciary and the Judicial Service.

“We will not be discouraged in our fight against corruption within the judiciary and the Judicial Service. It is a fight we intend to win and we will not relent until we achieve that goal”, the Chief Justice noted in her address at the launch of the 2017-2019 Anti-Corruption Action Plan for the Judiciary and the Judicial Service in Accra yesterday.

He said corruption among judges, magistrates and staff do not only undermine the integrity of the justice system but also challenge the fabric of its existence.

The phenomena, Ms. Akuffo noted, “significantly erodes public trust and confidence” adding “a judge imbued with integrity will instinctively not do what he or she knows to amount to corruption.”

The Chief Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo

“There is no doubt that corruption thrives where the opportunity for its occurrence exits, we admit that the longer a case takes to be completed the more opportunities are created for corruption.”

She continued: “to ensure that cases are dealt with as quickly as possible and that opportunities for corruption are minimized, we will continue to vigorously pursue effective application of technology through the automation of our courts and the improvement in our monitoring and evaluation systems.”

Justice Mrs. Sophia Adinyira, a judge of the Supreme Court and Chairperson for the launch was optimistic the implementation of the action plan would help achieve the strategic goal of the Judicial Service to strengthen public trust and confidence in the judiciary by deepening understanding of its functions and thereby dispel any desire by members of the public to corrupt the system for early hearing of their cases and favorable decisions.

Justice Mrs Sophia Adinyira
Justice Mrs Sophia Adinyira

She however, advocating the development of a gift policy that clearly defines the threshold for giving and receiving gifts with clear reporting and sanctioning guidelines for the Judicial Service as well as public and civil Servants.

The apex court judge was of the view that fighting corruption was a collaborative effect that requires the support of the Ghana Bar Association and the general public.

The Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, said corruption poses a serious threat to the socio-economic development of nations and by extension democracy, thereby eroding public confidence in the rule of law.

She argued among others that corruption thrives where law enforcement is weak insisting that crime is always a step ahead of detection and that corruption, because it is committed in secrecy makes detection and prosecution even more challenging.

The action plan comes two years after ace journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas shocked the Judiciary in 2015 when he recorded judges on video trading justice for pecuniary gains.

The expose by Anas about the conduct of some judges shook the foundation of the administration of justice in Ghana and set tongues wagging at how some judges stoop so low by taking bribes.

Over 21 circuit court judges and magistrates were suspended while 12 superior court judges, mostly at the high courts, were facing impeachment for corruption.

The Action Plan captioned “Uprooting Corruption, Wherever it is Found” developed in partnership with the DANIDA seeks to among other things increase the focus on integrity, reduce opportunities for corruption, increase transparency and accountability and dealing efficiently and effectively with complaints.

The launch brought together judges, politicians, members of the clergy, police and the academia.

By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson/ thePublisher

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