The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, to step aside for investigations to begin into allegations that he demanded bribe for the verdict of a Supreme Court case to go in favor of the giver.
The allegations were made by renowned lawyer Akwasi Afrifa Esquire against Nana Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI, who had petitioned the General Legal Council (GLC) over the conduct of the former.
The Chief Justice’s name came up in the response to the petition by lawyer Afrifa.
A “saddened” Justice Anin-Yeboah on Monday, July 12 denied the allegations and requested the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the matter for further action to be taken.
The request to the CID, contained in a letter signed by Judicial Secretary Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, also indicated that the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC has been petitioned to look into the same.
But addressing journalists in Accra on Tuesday, July 13, General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia stressed that the recent history of the CID makes it incompetent to handle an investigation involving a high-profile person like Justice Anin-Yeboah.
“In this regard, and without taking sides or commenting on the merit or otherwise of the said allegations of bribery against the Chief Justice, we believe that an investigation by the Police CID would be woefully inadequate to assure the Ghanaian public that a thorough inquiry has been conducted into the matter,” Mr Asiedu Nketia said.
“We are of the considered view that the recent history of the Police CID with respect to investigations into allegations against high-ranking officials of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government would not afford the sort of confidence that must be engendered in an investigation such as this considering the elevated position of the person against whom these allegations have been made.”
He cited the Australian Visa Scandal, the 500 missing excavators, and the galamsey fraud scandal as some of the cases poorly handled by the CID.
As regards the GLC, and even the Judicial Service, the NDC scribe said since a justice of the Supreme Court, and, for that matter, the chief of those justices is involved, the truth can only be proven by an independent body.
This, the party claims will ensure the sanctity and independence of the judicial arm of government.
“Best practice would require that the Chief Justice steps aside temporarily until the matters are looked into and a clear outcome emerges and we believe this instance calls for such an action.
“Friends from the media, in making these calls, we are guided by the supreme interest of governance and the preservation of the image of critical state institutions like the Judiciary and its leaders especially the Chief Justice.
“No iota of doubt must remain about its integrity and credibility and it is absolutely imperative that everything is done to guarantee this.”