The Chief Justice has denied all allegations of bribery against him and has petitioned the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the accusations levelled against him by one Lawyer Akwasi Afrifa.
A letter available to Dennislaw News and addressed to the Director General of the CID indicates that the Chief Justice has also lodged a petition with the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council on this matter.
A plaintiff identified as Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI petitioned the General Legal Council over difficulty he was experiencing in retrieving some extra money he had paid to the lawyer, Kwasi Afrifa.
The plaintiff admitted to paying $100,000 as extra money besides the GHS300,000 that had been agreed. According to him, this money was to “enable him (Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa) to do some ways and means (gymnastics) on [his] case so that [he] can obtain a favorable decision.
According to him, he was impressed on by the advise given by Lawyer Afrifa, despite the fact that he believed in the strengths of his case.
He however noted that the demeanor from the lawyer after receiving the money did not suggest that the extra money had been used for what he intentioned it for. He subsequently fired him from the case and asked for a refund.
The plaintiff noted that the Lawyer had only refunded $25,000 leaving a balance of $75,000. In spite of every other effort to get the remainder, the lawyer was not heeding the plaintiff’s demand, hence, the petition to the General Legal Council.
In his defense however, Lawyer Afrifa told the General Legal Council that the amount that was agreed on as fees was GHS1m, instead of the GHS300,000 the plaintiff stated.
He added that after representing the plaintiff at the Court of Appeal in Cape Coast and at the Supreme Court, the plaintiff was pleased with his performance and was willing to make him his substantive legal representative, a decision the lawyer declined.
However, according to Lawyer Afrifa, the petitioner made a U-turn on July 2020, claiming that his highly connected friends “had gone to see the Chief Justice who had agreed to help him win his case on condition that he drops my goodself as the Lawyer handling the case for him and engage Akoto Ampaw Esq in my stead.”
At this point, Lawyer Afrifa told the General Legal Council in no uncertain terms that his client had informed him “that the Chief Justice had demanded a bribe of US$5,000,000 for a successful outcome to his case and that he had already paid USD$500,000.00 to the Chief Justice”
Lawyer Afrifa further alleged that he had to refund the GHS300,000 he had received as fees for the case and in the Chief Justice’s preferred dollar equivalent. According to him, investigations conducted by personnel at the BNI indicated that the Chief Justice “was in the process of acquiring several properties at a posh residential area in Kumasi and therefore needed the money urgently.”
He also cited rumors of a dislike by the Chief Justice against him.
Rejoinder by Plaintiff
A statement sighted by Dennislaw News as released by the Plaintiff, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI has however denied the bribery allegations levelled against the Chief Justice.
According to the Plaintiff, he has “never met the Chief Justice before nor dealt with him directly or indirectly in official or private capacity, neither do i even know where he lives nor have his phone number to have communicated with him.”
In the rejoinder, the plaintiff “unequivocally denies all allegations of intended bribery or actual bribery of any Judge including the Chief Justice whom i have never met or known personally apart from seeing him a distance from the bench.
Consequently, he adds that he has “since applied for a copy of the said response to [his] petition against Lawyer Afrifa in which those fabrications and allegations are said to be contained and will appropriately react to the General Legal Council upon receipt of same.”
Chief Justice’s Response
Meanwhile, in the response filed by the Chief Justice and signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, the Chief Justice confirms “that he does not know the plaintiff and has not met or seen him anywhere, except in the court room when he rises to announce his name when his case is called.” The Chief Justice has denied any “personal interaction with the plaintiff or his lawyer on this matter or in any other matter.”
The Chief Justice has also referred to records which show that the “plaintiff unsuccessfully petitioned for the recusal of His Lordship the Chief Justice and His Lordship Justice Victor Jones Mawulom Dotse from the matter, on a claim that they were prejudiced against him.” It is believed that this is in response to claims the lawyer said in his response to the General Legal Council that the Chief Justice does not like him.
To further quell notions that the Chief Justice may have a bias for the plaintiff, his petition to the CID reveals that the Chief Justice was the only Judge on the panel that decided against the plaintiff in a ruling between the plaintiff and Ghana Telecom.
“Chief Justice was the only Judge on a panel who recently on 31st March 2021, dissented in an application at the instance of the plaintiff Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta IV in favor of the respondent, Ghana Telecommunications CO. Ltd,” the response indicates.
Consequently, the Chief Justice has requested that “a formal complaint be made to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service for investigations and any necessary action.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice has indicated that he would consider “his own civil legal options to ensure that this matter is dealt with to its logical conclusions.”