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Meanwhile, aside matters at the SC this morning, the Ghana Bar Association ( GBA) ( of which I am a religious dues paying member) has issued a statement concerning the bribery allegation made by the Hon. Mohammed Muntaka which touches on a Justice of the Supreme Court.
The GBA’s statement calls on the Hon. Muntaka to substantiate his allegation or retract and apologize for same.
But even before the Hon. Mohammed Muntaka has the opportunity to substantiate his allegations, the same GBA statement says it finds the allegations “totally unacceptable” “offensive and distasteful ” which are meant to cause public “ridicule and contempt against judges and the judiciary. How did the GBA determine that Hon. Muntaka’s allegation is “offensive” and “distasteful” even before the matter is investigated? The first rule of justice is to thoroughly hear from all sides before a conclusion is made.
Note that the Judicial Service of Ghana ( the body responsible for the affairs of judges and delivery of justice) within the last 24 hours already issued a statement in which it says it takes Hon. Muntaka’s allegation seriously and will cooperate with him to investigate the matter.
The GBA, on the other hand, is the association of lawyers in Ghana ( not the mouthpiece of the Judiciary). Its statement has condemned Muntaka for “inciting” the public to cause hatred and contempt towards the judiciary.
Recall that in 2011, the GBA similarly and summarily condemned bribery allegations against the Judiciary, which allegation was made by 5 lawyers- Prof. Raymond Atuguba, Lawyer Larry Bimi. Lawyer Chris Ackumey, Lawyer Amaliba and Lawyer Annan.
It is useful to add that the “democracy” we enjoy today is one of the fruits of the GBA’s foremost campaigns as a key member of progressive forces in the 1980s/90s for the return to democratic governance, rule of law and respect for human rights.
In the 4th Republic, I hardly read from my professional organization, the GBA- on serious matters of human rights abuses, example of which is the recent killing of 8 citizens participating in the democracy the same GBA fought for many years. I did not read from them on the military interventionist approach to the 2020 elections during the registration, the election itself proper and in Parliament post elections. I don’t read from them when our most vulnerable are subjected to dehumanizing circumstances–be it Gambaga witches or prayer camps where women are beaten to death. I don’t read from the GBA when the sins of corruption threaten the very existence of our democracy. None whatsoever.
Ironically, the GBA’s statement finds space to “unreservedly” condemn the unruly behaviour of our MPs elect on the 6th of January but saw no need to question the military assault on our democracy in the Parliamentary chamber. This is despite our revolutionary history teaching us that Parliament is the first democratic institution of attack by military interventionists.
The most important attribute and character of legal education is not the acquisition of vast knowledge of the law or to be erudite, it is to question everything and be fearless in the application of this knowledge irrespective of the danger it poses.
God bless our country Ghana.