Justice Paul Utter Dery, one of the judges indicted in the judicial corruption scandal, is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to avoid being sacked from the judiciary over the scandal.
It follows a petition by the investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, and his Tiger Eye PI to the president through the Chief Justice to impeach 32 lower and high court judges over alleged bribe taking.
After failed attempts to get the courts to stop him from being investigated, the embattled high court judge has turned to President John Mahama as a last minute move to save himself.
He has therefore petitioned the presidency in a bid to unmask Anas, who carried out the investigation with his Tiger Eye PI team in which 12 high court judges and other judges of the lower courts were captured in a video footage collecting bribes. Some of the judges, including John Ajet Nasam – who sat on the Woyome dubious judgement debt case and set him free – have already been sacked from the Judicial Service.
Mr Dery claims that checks conducted indicated that Anas’ company is a ghost one since it is non-existent.
“Your Excellency, our client has caused us to file various searches at the relevant statutory institutions to determine the identity of the petitioner, Tiger Eye PI. We must state at this point that the revelations from the searches appear to show that there is no company in Ghana by the name Tiger Eye PI and we would proceed to demonstrate same by taking the search reports one after the other,” he said in the petition.
According to the petitioner, “The search report from the Registrar of Companies of Ghana, who is the legitimate statutory body who registers companies limited by shares, on its search report dated 3rd November, 2015 significantly states thus: ‘We do not have any company on record called TIGER EYE PI. We have on record TIGER EYE PI MEDIA LIMITED (sic).’”
Justice Dery was alleged to have collected a GH¢11, 000 bribe and a goat to influence his decision on a case he was handling.
In a letter addressed and sent to the Flagstaff House, dated February 8, 2016 and signed by his lawyer, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo of Addo, Addo Legal Attorneys, he asked the president to “cause an investigation to be conducted into the true identity of the petitioner since from the evidence adduced herein, the petitioner, Tiger Eye PI, who purported to file a petition with your office, is non-existent.
“Your Excellency, we have the instructions of our client to draw your attention to these serious identity problems of the petitioner for in our view, the identity of the petitioner is paramount to any petition for the removal of justices of the Superior Court pursuant to Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution. References are hereby made to the Supreme Court decisions in Agyei Twum v. Attorney-General & Akwetey [2005-2006] SCGLR 637; and the Republic v. High Court (Fast Track Division), Accra; Ex parte Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (Richard Anane – Interested Party) [2007-2008] SCGLR 213,” the petition stated.
The letter was copied to Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood who has dismissed two other judges – John Ajet Nasam and Ernest Obimpeh – who were also captured in a similar video allegedly collecting bribes.
Twenty other magistrates and circuit court judges who were implicated in the scandal have also been sacked from office.
Interestingly, the same Justice Dery has filed a fresh suit at the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the petition by Anas and his Tiger Eye PI to President John Mahama.
According to Dery’s new suit, Tiger Eye PI has no locus to file that petition and so it must be declared unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, a five-member Supreme Court panel chaired by Justice Julius Ansah has by a unanimous decision dismissed Justice Dery’s suit which sought to declare as null and void proceedings instituted by the Chief Justice to remove him and several other judges who are alleged to have taken bribes.
The Supreme Court held that even though Tiger Eye PI did violate Article 146 Clause 8 of the 1992 Constitution, it does not mean that the constitutional process to inquire into the petition should be declared null and void.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu