Justices John Ajet-Nassam
Justices John Ajet-Nassam and Ernest Obimpeh have been sacked from the bench.
They are among the 12 high court judges who are on suspension after an audiovisual screening by investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger Eye PI company had shown them allegedly taking bribes from litigants.
“President John Dramani Mahama has directed the removal of Justice John Ajet-Nassam and Justice Ernest Obimpeh from office as justices of the high court on grounds of stated misbehaviour,” a statement from the office of the Judicial Secretary has stated.
The recommendation for their dismissal follows the adjudicating of their case by a five-member Impeachment Committee chaired by a Supreme Court Justice in accordance with Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution and its eventual recommendation.
Another judge, Ringo Cass Akurugu Azumah of the high court, has also been removed from office for stated misbehaviour – outside the bribery scandal that rocked the judiciary late last year.
This was contained in a press release issued yesterday from the office of the Judicial Secretary which also noted that there had been several complaints filed against Azumah by a leading law firm and several litigants over lateness, among other issues.
According to the release, a formal petition was submitted to the Honourable Lady Chief Justice on January 8, 2015, complaining that the Judge persistently absented himself from court.
Justice RC Azumah, upon receipt of the said letter, was asked to appear before a Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Council for Superior Court Judges, who found his conduct to be in breach of his Judicial Oath and office, in continuously failing to sit without permission or stated reason.
It said the committee further found that the judge’s general conduct amounted to gross dereliction of duty, stated misbehaviour and incompetence.
On receipt of the report of the Disciplinary Committee, the Judicial Council decided that Justice Azumah should be impeached.
According to the release, the Council therefore submitted a petition to the president who accepted the recommendation in accordance with Article 146 (9) of the Constitution; thus, the removal from office of Justice Azumah.
It stated that he (Justice Azumah) is to hand over his bungalow and all official properties in his possession, including the official Government vehicle, dockets and record books to the Judicial Secretary.
Justice Ajet-Nassam, on the other hand, after the Judicial Committee was set up by the Chief Justice to look into the allegations of bribery against him, failed to appear before it. He chose to stay at home when members of the committee put out a formal invitation to him to make an appearance.
These developments had culminated in a recommendation that he be removed from office. He had been earlier rumoured to have fled the country for the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria for spiritual guidance.
Justice Ajet-Nassam was the judge who freed Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, who was being tried for defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.28 million over an alleged fraudulent contract which he claimed was abrogated.
The trial judge, after ordering Woyome to open his defence because the state had proven that he had a case to answer in his judgement, later lambasted the state for not bringing the former Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who recommended that Woyome had a binding contract for a financial engineering role he played to bring money to the government.
Even though Woyome admitted he did get some money from the government over some loses he incurred, the trial judge said the agreement with the state for the construction of stadia for Confederation of African Nations (CAN) 2008 amounted to a binding contract, for which the businessman was entitled to money for his financial engineering role.
The state is currently on appeal on his acquittal and discharge at the Court of Appeal while Woyome is yet to finish paying the GH¢51.28 million which the Supreme Court declared should have never be given to him because it did not have parliamentary approval.
A DAILY GUIDE Report