Eight magistrates and five circuit court judges were yesterday sworn into office by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
The event, which took place at the premises of the Supreme Court in Accra, was the first swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed judges and magistrates by the Judicial
Service after ace investigator, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger Eye PI team’s expose on alleged corrupt practices in the judiciary.
The appointment of the newly inducted judges can be described as historic, because for the first time in the country’s judicial practice, the Judicial Council published their names in the various newspapers in the country as part of the appointment process.
This was to engage the general public in the process by sending their comments to the council as to whether the appointees had engaged in any questionable acts likely to compromise their work or dint the image of the judiciary.
An Appeal Court judge and the President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges (AMJG), Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei, said it was unfortunate that some people now perceive judges and the entire judicial system as corrupt in the wake of Anas’ expose.
He said at the time of the expose, there were 400 judges and magistrates in the country, but only 34 were indicted representing 8.5 per cent of the total number.
Out of those indicted, he said one lower court judge was exonerated while 21 were dismissed; two of the High court judges had retired while the cases of nine were pending in the law courts.
“I shall not condone corruption but I am of the opinion that the indictment of the 8.5 per cent by the expose was over exaggerated to include all judges and magistrates. The percentage of the judges who were indicted was a minute fraction of the Judiciary and it is unfair to tag the entire judiciary as corrupt,” he indicated.
According to Justice Adjei, any attempt to attack the judiciary without any substantial evidence could adversely affect the country’s economy as “it would deter investors from investing in the country and those who may invest may seek adjudication outside Ghana for the breaches of contract to be determined.”
The Solicitor General, Mrs Helen A.A. Ziwu, advised the judges to make integrity their hallmark in the discharge of their duties, adding that “integrity leads a good judge to be firm but not draconian, kind but not soft and above all incorruptible”
The President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Ben Nutsupkui, emphasised the need for judges to maintain effective communication with lawyers to enhance the justice delivery process.
“It is our hope that in case you may not, for any reason, be able to attend court, we get notified early enough so as not to sit in court and waste valuable time,” he said.