US$5m bribery scandal: Lawyer ropes in Chief Justice’s wife in latest suit

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Even before the dust settles on the US$5 million bribery allegation against Ghana’s Chief Justice, the lawyer at the centre of the controversy has filed a suit seeking jaw-dropping reliefs amidst wild revelations against the Chief Justice.

For instance, lawyer Kwasi Afrifa has accused the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah of abusing his office to secure favours for his wife, Phyllis Ofori alias Maame Animah.

Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah is the first defendant. Also joined in the suit are the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council and Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, a Justice of the Supreme Court.

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In one of his reliefs, the lawyer prayed the court to declare that “it is wrongful and abusive of his office for the 1st Defendant to permit, direct and positively encourage his wife to use his official title as part of, or an appendage to, her personal business contrary to the ethics and dignity of the high office of Chief Justice of Ghana”.

The plaintiff, in his leaked statement of claim to be filed at the High Court, alleged that the Chief Justice allowed his wife to use his office to transact her private business, which he said breaches ethics of his office.

“The Plaintiff states that the 1st Defendant has encouraged his wife to rely on and use the status and title of the 1st Defendant as the fourth most important person in the country to transact her private business as a result of which she has caused to be prepared a complimentary card manifestly connecting the 1st Defendant to the business which is unrelated to the office of Chief Justice of Ghana and which has the unmistakable possibility, nay probability and even certainty, of bringing the exalted office of Chief Justice into disrepute.  This is a breach of ethics of the highest order and an abuse of office by the 1st Defendant,” part of the statement of claim read.

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According to lawyer Afrifa, Justice Anin Yeboah engaged in “improper conduct” when he “used his position as Chief Justice to demand and receive several shops/stores at the Kumasi City Market (the new reconstructed market at Kejetia) for his wife and several family members contrary to the ethics of his office and thereby bringing the office of Chief Justice into disrepute.”

This is what he said about some of the properties personally acquired by Justice Anin Yeboah upon assumption of office as Chief Justice.

“The Plaintiff states that it has also come to his knowledge that the during the short tenure of the 1st Defendant as Chief Justice he has made several acquisitions of properties in prime areas in Ghana which could not be acquired on his income and therefore more than reasonably suggestive of a pattern of transactional delivery of judgments in cases in which he adjudicates thus explaining his penchant to be on almost every case of note at the Supreme Court.

“It is said with certainty that on one occasion he went inspecting a property he wanted to acquire in Kumasi with a motorcade in the company of a justice of the Court of Appeal.  The Plaintiff will lead credible evidence of all the acquisitions wherever situate in Ghana and persons who witnessed the said motorcade. The plaintiff will tender pictures of the said property inspected with a motorcade as well as the massive and hasty renovation/reconstruction of a house acquired by the 1st Defendant at Asokwa, Kumasi.

“The 1st Defendant is known to have acquired about five (5) houses outright by purchase in that gorgeous and serene part of Kumasi during his short tenure as head of the judiciary.”

Meanwhile, the The Herald newspaper has quoted a source close to the Chief Justice, who is a legal practitioner, suggesting that the claims by Lawyer Afrifa lacked merit and “cannot be substantiated”.

Mr. Kwasi Africa, a Kumasi-based legal practitioner, recently made a startling revelation of the US$5 million cash for justice allegation against the Chief Justice leading to him being summoned before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council. He was also investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service.

Lawyer Afrifa’s latest suit at the High Court follows a prima facie case established against him when he appeared before the General Legal Council’s Disciplinary Committee chaired by Justice Baffoe-Bonnie.

He is accusing them of abusing their office to punish him for no wrong done as he contests nine charges/counts of professional misconduct.

He described the prima facie case as a “contrived decision”, stating that some of the charges were “levied under repealed subsidiary legislation”.

Kwasi Afrifa is therefore praying the court for seven (7) reliefs in total:

  1. A declaration that it is wrongful, illegal impermissible and abusive of the Office of Chief Justice for the 1st Defendant to use the Judicial Secretary of the Judicial Service established under Article 125 of the Constitution, 1992, as an independent arm of government to file a complaint to the Criminal Investigation Division of the Ghana Police Service at the National Police Headquarters, Accra against the Plaintiff in a matter personal to the 1st
  2. A declaration that the conduct of the 1st Defendant in using panel members of the 2nd Defendant to prosecute a personal matter against the Plaintiff constitutes usurpation of a judicial tribunal and an interference in the administration of justice and is prejudicial to the delivery of justice and independence of the said judicial tribunal contrary to his oath of office, the law and best practices befitting the high office of Chief Justice.
  3. A declaration that the Plaintiff’s response to a purported complaint instigated engineered and directed by the 1st Defendant using one Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV as a surrogate dated 1st March, 2021 to the 2nd Defendant is not actionable in law and does not breach any rule of law, practice or prescription.
  4. A declaration that it is wrongful and abusive of his office for the 1st Defendant to permit, direct and positively encourage his wife to use his official title as part of, or an appendage to, her personal business contrary to the ethics and dignity of the high office of Chief Justice of Ghana.
  5. A declaration that it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional for the 1st Defendant not to make a full frank and comprehensive declaration of his assets prior to his vetting and appointment and that his failure so to do is subversive of good governance and an infraction of the Constitution and laws of Ghana.
  6. A declaration that the pattern of illegal improper unconstitutional and flagrant disregard for propriety exhibited by the 1st Defendant makes him unfit for the high and exalted office of Chief Justice of Ghana.
  7. Perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, representatives or persons acting at their behest or direction including the Ghana Police Service from interfering with the plaintiff’s inalienable and constitutional rights and freedom of expression as well as an order of injunction restraining the 3rd Defendant from being a part of any panel constituted in relation to all matters between the Plaintiff and the 1st Defendant on grounds of actual and demonstrated bias, prejudice and an intense sense of obligation towards the 1st Defendant which has been demonstrated even in writing.

 

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