Don’t give bribes in my court - High Court judge warns accused, litigants
A High Court judge in Koforidua has sent a strong signal to litigants and accused persons not to make any overtures aimed at bribing her
a curious notice posted on the noticeboard of the Koforidua High Court, the judge, Mrs Justice Gifty Dekyem, gave the warning on what appears to be directed at a party to a suit, not to even attempt to bribe her.
Mrs Justice Gifty Dekyem presides over the Koforidua High Court 3.
She previously presided over the Labour and Industrial Court 1 of the Accra High Court.
The notice read:
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"To whom it may concern.
"Please take note that:
“1. I do not accept bribes and gifts.
"Do not give them out
“2. You do not need to "see me" to get justice.
“Do not approach me directly or indirectly in that regard.”
“Thank you, Justice Gifty Dekyem (Mrs).”
It is still not clear why Justice Dekyem posted the notice, but it is not surprising due to the numerous allegations of bribery and corruption levelled against the Judiciary.
In 2016, about 34 judges and magistrates were implicated in a scandal after a two-year investigation by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
More than 100 members of staff of the Judicial Service were also implicated in the scandal.
Majority of the judges, magistrates and court clerks involved were relieved of their duties.
Guessing what the rationale behind the notice posted by the judge could be, a legal practitioner, Mr George Bernard Shaw, said the judge’s action, although not a common practice, was in the right direction.
“I support her. Maybe people have tried to bribe her, and she wants to use unconventional methods to warn them,’’ he said.
Counsel also interpreted the notice to mean the judge’s way of publicly declaring her stance against bribery and corruption.
“Maybe she wants to use it to tell whoever comes to her court not to attempt to bribe her or any of her staff,’’ he added.
Another legal practitioner, Mr Martin Kpebu, said that was not the first time judges had told people not to attempt to bribe them.
“Even before the Anas exposé, judges used to tell people not to dare bribe them. Some judges even make it a point to repeat it every day in their courtrooms. So there is nothing wrong with it,’’ counsel said.