PIX: Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa
TWENTY TWO individuals and the Ghana Police Service have been slated to testify in the infamous Chief Justice’ $5million bribery saga at the instance of the defendant, Kwasi Afrifa, Esq., a Kumasi-based private legal practitioner.
Lawyer Afrifa, who is facing nine charges of professional misconduct by the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council (GLC), intends to call the said number of witnesses by subpoena to give evidence in the case.
They are Kofi Sraha, Hon. Eugene Boakye Antwi, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, wife of the Chief Justice, Justice Baffoe- Bonnie, Justice J.V. M. Dotse, Justice (retired) N. S. Gbadegbe and Samuel Awuku Okudzeto.
Others are the Judicial Secretary Cynthia Pamela Addo, Akoto Ampaw Esq., Yaw D. Oppong Esq., (Director of Legal Education), Ace Ankomah Esq., C. P. K. Okudzeto, Ahmed Musah Esq., Joe Osei Wusu Esq., and John Addae.
The rest are the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Registrar of the National House of Chiefs, Kumasi, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Cape Coast, the Registrars of the High Court at Tema, Accra and Swedru and Ghana Police Service.
However, reports filtering to Press1news.com indicate that Justice Nene Ofoe Amegatcher at a sitting of the GLC on March 22, 2023 has categorically said he would not allow Lawyer Afrifa to call witnesses per subpoena.
The judge said the defendant has the responsibility to bring his witnesses to give evidence at the proceedings voluntarily upon the filing of witness statements.
At an earlier sitting on March 21, 2023, Justice Amegatcher, who has attained 70 years and retired from the Bench in February 2023, insisted on continuing the hearing claiming he is entitled to do so as a person who has “held high judicial office”.
Meanwhile, legal brains, upon Press1news.com enquiries, have cried foul at the position of Justice Amegatcher saying he is completely wrong.
Our sources indicate that Justice Amegatcher’s position is wrong because subpoena is a way of compelling persons who are unwilling to give evidence in a case.
They found the behaviour of Justice Amegatcher very strange because the witnesses Lawyer Afrifa intends to call by subpoena are not persons who will readily give evidence against the Chief Justice.
It was explained that the subpoena is the only way to compel them to give evidence which will expose the truth.
The legal experts also said for a retired Supreme Court judge to behave this way was strange and contradicts Article 35 (8) of the 1992 Constitution which states that “the State shall take steps to eradicate corrupt practices and abuse of power”.
Meanwhile, the legal analysts have frowned on the trial of the case in camera saying it will be a disservice to the whole nation and
shroud the already opaque proceedings in needless secrecy.
The legal expert who pleaded anonymity in reacting to the charges against Lawyer Afrifa has said most of the charges are a nullity having been laid under L. I. 613 which is repealed.
According to the legal expert, the Committee ignored what should have
been included and included what should not have been included stressing that the charges have no bearing or link to the original petition and contended that the charges are fuelled by desperation to save the face of the Chief Justice in the light of clear judicial misconduct.
He suggested that in the light of the huge public and international interest in the case, proceedings be held in public for the general populace to meaningfully monitor same and come to their own independent conclusions.
Lawyer Afrifa indeed wanted a public hearing and even filed a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the hearing in camera as unconstitutional.
But the Chief Justice has deliberately refused to have the said suit listed for hearing since May 4, 2022 when it was filed.
Observers have noted that the refusal to have the said suit heard strongly suggest that the Chief Justice has something to hide in respect of the $5 million bribery while the accused (Kwasi Afrifa) is insistent on an open, public and transparent hearing which will set the records regarding the $5 million bribery straight.
On the indecent haste and insistence of Justice Nene Ofoe Amegatcher to hastily complete the hearing in camera, the legal analysts gathered that his (Justice Amegatcher) position is at the instigation of the Chief Justice who wants to see Lawyer Afrifa unfairly punished before he (the CJ) retires on May23, 2023.
BY Kow Richardson