Vitus Azeem backs calls for independent probe into $5m bribery allegation against Chief Justice
A former Director for the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Azeem has supported calls for an independent investigation into a bribery allegation levelled against the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah.
Just like the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Azeem is sceptical that neither the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council nor the Judicial Service’s investigation into the alleged misconduct will be impartial.
He believes an independent body such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) would conduct a more credible investigation.
“The General Legal Council should not be the one investigating the matter because the Chief Justice is the Chair of that body. I think CHRAJ should be the body that should investigate the matter,” said Mr. Azeem on Eyewitness News.
Justice Anin-Yeboah denied the allegations which were contained in the response of a lawyer, Akwasi Afrifa, against a petition filed against him by his client at the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council.
He has petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the matter.
There have since been calls by the NDC for the Chief Justice to step aside while investigations are conducted into the allegation.
Chief Justice could remain in office
Responding to such calls, Mr. Azeem said the Chief Justice could remain in office so far as the investigation does not specifically border on malpractices in the Judiciary.
“I think if it is an institution like CHRAJ that is investigating the matter, once it does not have to do with the overall malpractices in the Judiciary he could remain there while the independent body is carrying out the investigation.”
Ogyeedom IV dragged Mr. Afrifa to the GLC alleging that the lawyer collected $100,000 from him with a promise to help get a favourable judgement on his behalf as a client.
Ogyeedom Atta IV asked the council to order Mr. Afrifa to refund the $100,000, saying the lawyer failed to deliver on his promise.
In a response dated July 8, 2021, Mr. Afrifa denied the claims by Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV, further alleging that he was asked to refund $300,000 in legal fees to enable his client to raise a $5 million bribe to be paid to the Chief Justice to get a favourable decision in the legal dispute.