My personal observations of, practical experience with, other people’s encounter with, the way Ghana justice system operates, go to conclude without mincing words, and without fear or favour, that the unethical attitude by some lawyers, judges and judicial staff, is undeniably the number one problem giving rise to the other numerous causes directly militating against the advancement of Ghana as a country, and a people. My interest in, and research into, establishing the veracity or refutation of the assertion that the Ghana justice system is deplorably inhibiting the development of Ghanaians and Ghana as a people and a black nation worthy of recognition and respectability by our contemporary superior white race, go to confirm one’s worst nightmare about the unfair attitude by some people within the justice system as causative of the many problems pulling the development of Ghana down.
Why is it from the mouth of many a rational and fair but poor Ghanaian that justice in Ghana is sold to the highest bidder? Is it not because the delivery of justice has widely been noted to go in favour of the rich, the nobles, the highly elevated traditional overlords with the capability and ability to influence the judges, even when they are clearly evidentially seen by facts and documents to be the otherwise guilty parties in a litigation, or in the case brought before the court? Is it not an open secret how speedily a common thief or a poor person is tried, convicted and sentenced to various horrendous terms of imprisonment while those politicians, highly-placed civil service executives, the so-called powerful traditional overlords, etc., stealing millions of Ghana Cedis, or flouting the laws of the land, are either let off the hook, or the hearing of their cases intentionally repeatedly deferred by the judges for reasons only best known to them?
On a number of occasions, the Chief Justices had advised graduating lawyers or newly promoted lawyers into justiceship to be honest in the execution of their law profession while at the same time bemoaning the corrupt attitudes by the junior judicial staff like the court registrars, clerks, bailiffs, etc., who take bribes from some litigating parties to remove, or hide away vital documents from their opponents’ dockets. These are ongoing factual situations that nobody in their right senses can deny.
Unfortunately, the Chief Justices often appear powerless, unable to crack the whip on the back of the bad nuts within the judiciary or the justice system tarnishing the reputation of the entire Ghana judiciary or the justice system. Instead of sacking the judges blatantly delivering verdicts not based on the facts, and permissible, credible and acceptable evidence submitted to court but on their whimsicalities as may be dictated by inducements of some sort, they leave them to pursue their selfish, unfair and disgraceful nation-ruining behaviours.
By the failure of some Ghana judges to fully adhere to the intents of the articles enshrined in the Ghana Constitution, High Court Rules and the relevant applicable laws, but choose to give their own interpretations to such laws as may be influenced by the bribes they have accepted or promises given to them, they have deliberately or inadvertently, emboldened many a well-positioned person to become ardent criminal. Some people embezzle millions of Ghana Cedis from the public coffers, some people abuse the laws with the motive of satisfying their insatiable greed, yet they are not successfully tried, let alone, convicted and sentenced.
Is fraud not a crime in Ghana? Is it not a punishable offence leading to prosecution and conviction as stated in the Ghana Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29)? Is falsification of any document to acquire what you will otherwise not obtain if the falsification had not taken place not fraud? If the worldwide legal dictum has it that “fraud vitiates all contracts”, why do the courts allow proven committed fraud cases brought before them last for years and even finally decide judgment in favour of the fraudster in some cases?
By the apparently demonstrated unethical attitude to the hearing, and ruling on, some cases by some Ghana judges, the instances of some opportunists becoming corrupt to commit more crimes with impunity have become remarkable. This taste of unrestrained corruption by people we have vested our trust in to manage the country and the public services for the collective welfare of the citizenry has spiked up the love of corruption in many who would otherwise have never dared to, hence the dearth of public funds to develop the nation. If the lawyers, judges and the judicial staff had been fair in deciding cases and within reasonable time devoid of the unreasonable dilly-dallying, many now corrupt persons would never dream to become corrupt.
It is not all judges that are corrupt. However, the few or many bad nuts among them are causing the ruinous ramifications of corruption in Ghana to cost the nation the necessary developments craved for.
I entreat judges to endeavour to apply the laws when deciding cases rather than allowing themselves to be influenced by whatever, to twist justice in favour of the otherwise guilty parties.
As evil begets evil, so does unfair behaviour by judges beget more evil in the society to spike up lawlessness and more acts of corruption in the country.