Private legal practitioner, Akoto Ampaw, has reacted to the $5m bribery allegations levelled against Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, describing it as "infantile and preposterous".
According to him, “Lawyer Afrifa must have his own diabolical reasons for trying to implicate me in this crazy judicial bribery scandal, which manifestly does not add up.”
A Kumasi-based private legal practitioner, Lawyer Akwasi Afrifa, is in the limelight for perhaps all the wrong reasons, after he accused the Chief Justice, Kwesi Anin-Yeboah, of demanding a $5 million bribe.
Mr Akwasi Afrifa, Esq, in response to an invitation by the General Legal Council, alleged that his former client, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV informed him that Chief Justice Kwesi Annin-Yeboah, “demanded a bribe of ¢5,000,000 for a successful outcome of his case and that he had already paid ¢500,000 to the Chief Justice.”
The case under reference is OGYEEDOM OBRANU KWESI ATTA IV V GHANA TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY & LANDS COMMISSION.
Akwasi Afrifa further claimed the Traditional ruler informed him that the Chief Justice had agreed to ensure a favourable ruling in his case provided he selects Mr Akoto Ampaw as a lawyer in the stead of Mr Afrifa.
Meanwhile, Justice Anin-Yeboah has denied the allegation and petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the matter.
But the National Democratic Congress (NDC) insists the Chief Justice should step aside for investigations to continue.
The largest opposition party called on Parliament to invoke Article 278 of the 1992 Constitution to compel President Akufo-Addo, to establish a Commission of Inquiry to probe the $5million bribery allegation.
General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, explained that the Chief Justice, who is the accused in the said matter, cannot be the very authority to set up a committee to investigate and declare judgement.
“The difficulty, however, with is this is that the investigations would concern the Chief Justice who is the subject of the bribery allegation in this matter and in whom disciplinary authority against judicial officers is vested under section 18 of the Judicial Service Act. Therefore, good governance dictates that the Chief Justice steps aside during the pendency of the investigations by the Judicial Service relative to the issue of alleged misconduct on his part, as a Supreme Court Judge,” he stated.
Akoto Ampaw Breaks Silence
In a statement issued on Monday, Lawyer Akoto Ampaw accused Mr Afrifa of implicating him for his (Afrifa's) own "diabolical reasons".
“Lawyer Afrifa must have his own diabolical reasons for trying to implicate me in this crazy judicial bribery scandal, which manifestly does not add up. That is his problem," he said in reaction to his name being embroiled in the matter.
“1. Some time at the end of July 2020, Ogyeedom came to see me at our offices at Kojo Thompson Road, Adabraka, Accra, with a request that he wanted me to take over the prosecution of his case in the Supreme Court. I indicated that it would be foolhardy on my part to take over a case before the Supreme Court that was to be heard in some two to three days’ time. I, therefore, urged him to still rely on his current legal team in the pending application and, if thereafter, he still wanted my professional services, I would be ready to hear him out.
Sometime later, during the legal vacation, last year, Ogyeedom came back to consult with me, and, with much reluctance, I agreed to take up the brief, upon the very clear understanding that if he wanted me to take up the case because he thought I was politically connected or had friends within the judiciary, then he was at the wrong place, as I did not carry on my work as a lawyer by such dishonourable means. Indeed, I have had to make similar caveat to many potential clients when they seek my professional services, as, alas, these days, virtually everything seems to be for sale in our country and ethical standards have gone to the dogs. Fortunately, my junior, Nicholas Lenin Anane Agyei, was present in my office when I laid out this standard for my professional relationship with Ogyeedom, and he can testify to same.
Eventually, I agreed to take up the brief and filed notice of change of lawyer in the Supreme Court sometime in October. I have since been in the Supreme Court on a few occasions in respect of the matter to move an application to adduce new evidence in response to the Court’s grant of an earlier application by the appellant to adduce new evidence.
On March 31, 2021, the Supreme Court granted our application by a four to one ruling. Incidentally, the Chief Justice, who, according to lawyer Afrifa’s yarn, wanted me to be engaged as a lawyer in the matter to facilitate an outcome favourable to my client, was the dissenting judge out of a panel of five. The records are there for anyone to access, including the media.”
Attached a copy of Lawyer Akoto Ampaw's response:
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