September 23, 2015
by Clement Sefa-Nyarko
Republished from: IPI Global Observatory
One of the foundations of Ghana’s much-touted democracy is on the verge of crumbling after 12 high court judges, 22 lower court magistrates, and over 100 judicial service personnel across the country were captured on video collecting bribes, extorting money from litigants, and negotiating the release of persons standing trial in their respective courts. The West African country—governed by a single constitution since 1992, after many bouts of post-independence coup d’états and authoritarian regimes —is ranked the 7th best in overall governance in Africa in the 2014 edition of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which credited it with very high scores on safety, rule of law, and national security. The video was premiered for public viewing on September 22, 2015.[2a].
This latest revelation smacks in the face of accountable governance and is a confirmation of increasing perceptions of corruption among the judiciary, the police, and the seat of government, according to latest Afro-barometer surveys conducted by the Centre of Democratic Governance. The barometer indicators and other forms of public grievances against the judiciary have remained speculative until now. A painstaking two-year investigation by Tiger Eye PI, an Accra-based private investigative company led by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has made alarming revelations of massive corruption, secret justice-for-sale deals, and scheming of judges and judicial service personnel allegedly negotiating the release of criminals. These were contained in secret video recordings that have the potential to lead Ghana into an abyss of confusion and instability – the hallmark of many African countries.