The ECOWAS Court has brought forward the date for the hearing of applications filed by three suspended justices of the High Court in Ghana in relation to the judicial bribery exposé done by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
The ECOWAS court was supposed to hear the case on Wednesday, 30 May 2018.
Justices Paul Uuter Dery, Habib Logoh and Gilbert Ayisi Addo, are seeking a declaration that the 1st Defendant (Chief Justice of Ghana) could not have made a determination of prima facie case against the plaintiffs without enacting a constitutional instrument to govern her conduct and if she did it would contravene Article 296 (c) of the Constitution.
They are also seeking a reversal of their impeachment and suspension by the presidency after the exposé, which indicted them.
Lawyer for the three judges, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, filed separate international suits with the Court of Justice of ECOWAS in a joint suit and named the Ghana Government, the Chief Justice of Ghana, the Ghana Judicial Council and the Attorney General of Ghana as the first, second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
In one of the suits, the three justices are seeking the following:
• That their human rights have been violated;
• That the Government of Ghana “owes it as a duty to respect and uphold and also ensure that every person within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana respects and upholds individual human rights enshrined in the laws mentioned earlier;
• That the Government of Ghana has violated their rights to fair trial and administrative justice;
• That the Government of Ghana has violated their rights to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination; and
• That the Government of Ghana has violated their rights to work and to privacy.
The judges are also seeking an order from the ECOWAS Court “prohibiting the Government of Ghana from continuing with the impeachment, or prosecution of the applicants based solely on evidence procured in violation of the applicants’ rights to privacy”.
They are further seeking an order from the court to direct the Ghana Government to “pay with interest full salaries and allowances which it unlawfully suspended since January, 2016 – arising out of a petition by Tiger Eye PI/Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ for their removal from office.
In the other the writ dated Friday, 27 April 2018, the Justices are seeking the following reliefs:
1. A declaration that the 1st Defendant ( Chief Justice) could not have made a determination of prima facie case against the plaintiffs without enacting a constitutional instrument to govern her conduct and if she did it would contravene Article 296 (c0 of the Constitution.
2. A declaration that the conduct of the 1st Defendant in setting up the 2nd Defendant committee to investigate the petition against the plaintiffs is unlawful as same is in contravention of Article 296 (c) of the Constitution.
3. A declaration that the 2nd Defendant in performing its functions under Article 146 (5) of the Constitution is required to comply with Article 296 of the Constitution.
4. A declaration that the 2nd Defendant cannot lawfully proceed to investigate the plantiffs unless it does so pursuant to a constitutional instrument to regulate its functions pursuant to Article 278(1) and 296 (c) of the Constitution.
5. An order declaration as a nullity and of no effect any prima facie case that 1st Defendant would have made against the plaintiffs in exercise of the function pursuant to Article 146(3) and (4) of the Constitution as same is in contravention of Article 296(c) of the Constitution.
6. Any other order(s) the Court deems meet.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a Ghanaian private investigator, presented a petition to then-President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, which he later forwarded to then-Chief Justice of Ghana, Theodora Georgina Wood.
The petition exposed 33 judges of the High and Circuit Courts and Magistrates in video and transcripts – allegedly receiving bribes from agents of Tiger Eye PI, an investigation firm owned by Anas.
Acting upon evidences provided by the video and transcripts, the Supreme Court and the Ghana Judicial Service dismissed a number of High and Circuit court judges and magistrates for professional misconduct.
But a few of the indicted judges opted to exercise their right to defend their human rights by challenging the positions taken by the Ghana Judicial Service on the matter.