Over the weekend where there were major footballing events across Europe and South America, the judicial arm of Ghana’s government became the point of focus with saw jaw-dropping developments within that space.
This is after no less a person than the man sitting at the apex of that arm of government, the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah became the subject of corruption allegations from a lawyer by name Akwasi Afrifa.
Akwasi Afrifa’s allegation
These yet-to-be proven allegations made by lawyer Akwasi Afrifa was contained in a response to a petition filed against him at the General Legal Council, GLC, by a client called Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV.
Akwasi Afrifa among other things claimed that the Chief Justice demanded $5million from his client in order to pass a favourable verdict over a land issue.
“At the end of July 2020, the Petitioner informed me that friends of his who were highly connected politically had taken him to see the Chief Justice who had agreed to help him win his case on condition that he drops my goodself as the lawyer handling the case for him and engage Akoto Ampaw Esq in my stead,” Kwasi Afrifa said.
“He further informed me that the Chief Justice had demanded a bribe of US$5,000,000 for a successful outcome to his case and that he had already paid US$500,000 to the Chief Justice. He further indicated that he was hard-pressed to raise the remainder of the US$5,000,000 and so I should refund some of the GH¢300,000 paid me as fees because he had in line with the advice of the Chief Justice, engaged Akoto Ampaw Esq as solicitor to continue the case before the Supreme Court,” Afrifa added.
Petition by Ogyeedom
The quotes above which has flurry of vile allegations against the Chief Justice were precipitated by a complaint filed by Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV at the GLC over the conduct of Akwasi Afrifa who used to be his attorney.
Ogyeedom said that his former lawyer acted in contravention of GLC rules when he handled the case “Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI v Ghana Telecommunications Co. Ltd” by suggesting to him [Ogyeedom] to “provide an amount of US$100,000 to enable him to do some ways and means (gymnastics)” on the case “so that we can obtain a favorable decision.”
Ogyeedom said he was beyond conviction that the Supreme Court was going to rule in his favour but had to fulfil the demand of his council as he was a novice when it comes to the justice delivery system.
But he later realized that he had been shortchanged and after removing Akwasi Afrifa as his lawyer made efforts to retrieve payments made to him.
“…so I fired him from the case and asked him to refund the money but he has since refunded US$25,000 leaving a balance of US$75,000 due and owing to me. All efforts to retrieve the amount have failed,” Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI stated.
Ogyeedom responds to Akwasi Afrifa’s allegations
Shortly after GhanaWeb published the story of Akwasi Afrifa’s response to his complaint at the GLC, the lawyers for Ogyeedom issued a response where they distanced him from all the allegations made against him, lawyer Akoto Ampaw and the Chief Justice.
Ogyeedom stated that he has at no point in his life had an interaction with the Chief Justice and that all the claims being made by lawyer Akwasi Afrifa hold no water.
“I unequivocally deny all allegations of intended bribery or actual bribery against any judge including the Chief Justice whom I have never met or known personally apart from seeing him in distance from the bench,” the rejoinder said in part.
“I have since applied for a copy of the said response to my petition against Lawyer Afrifa in which those fabrications and allegations are said to be contained and will appropriately react to the General Legal Council upon receipt of same.”
Chief Justice refers case to CID
The Chief Justice in a statement written on his behalf by the Judicial Service also debunked allegations made against him by Akwasi Afrifa.
He said that aside the courtroom where he usually hears the name of Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI when his case is called, he has never met him.
He further referred the case to the Criminals Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service to conduct investigations into the matter and open criminal prosecutions where necessary.
“His Lordship the Chief Justice is saddened that without any shred of evidence, his name has been dragged into this sordid and potentially criminal matter.
“His Lordship further asserts that he has not demanded or received any money from any person to influence any decision,” the letter said.
ASEPA petitions CHRAJ
The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to take up investigations into the issue.
The petition, signed by the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson noted that the allegation levelled against Chief Justice Kwasi Annin-Yeboah is a serious one that needs critical attention.
Parts of the statement said, “We write to invoke the Jurisdiction of CHRAJ pursuant to Section 7(1)(a)(f) of the CHRAJ Act, 1993, Act 456 and Article 281(a)(e) to investigate the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah for allegations of bribery and corruption. An allegation that Nana Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI disclosed to his former lawyer, Mr. Kwesi Afrifa Esq that the Chief Justice has demanded a bribe of $5million from him to help him win a case he had at the Supreme Court
“…ASEPA treats these allegations very seriously and contends that the conduct of the Chief Justice if found to be true is in serious violation of Chapter 24 (code of the conduct for public officers) and several other provisions in our laws. It is therefore important that CHRAJ investigates this matter in accordance with the law and recommends appropriate sanctions in respect of the outcome of the investigations to restore the battered image of the judiciary and any other injury this allegation might have caused.”
NDC to hold press conference on the issue
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) will today, July, 13, 2021 hold a press conference to announce the party’s position on the issue.
The party in a flier released via their social media handles on Monday, July 12, 2021 said it was going to speak on the matter.