CJ refutes $5m bribery allegation; CID begins investigations

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
CJ refutes $5m bribery allegation; CID begins investigations
CJ refutes $5m bribery allegation; CID begins investigations

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has started investigations into a US$5million bribery allegation levelled against the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah.

In an interview with Graphic Online’s Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson on Monday (July 12, 2021), the Director-General of the CID, Commissioner of Police (COP), Mr Isaac Ken Yeboah said the investigations had commenced following an invitation by the Chief Justice.

“I received a request by the Chief Justice this morning (Monday) and accordingly referred it to a team of investigators for further action,” COP Ken Yeboah told Graphic Online.

The Chief Justice has refuted allegations that he demanded a $5million bribe to influence a case currently before the Supreme Court and requested the CID to investigate the allegations.

The CJ’s request was triggered by an allegation from a lawyer, Mr Akwasi Afrifa who has been hurled before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) by his client, the Chief of Gomoa Afransi in the Central Region, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwesi Atta VI for extorting money from him without rendering the service required.

Mr Afrifa, a well known lawyer in Kumasi is billed to appear before the GLC on Thursday.

Response

In his response to the GLC, Mr Afrifa claimed that the alleged bribery allegation was made by his client, Ogyeedom Atta VI.

PHOTO: Mr Akwasi Afrifa

CJ's request

A copy of the request, dated yesterday (July 12, 2021), and signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, said the allegations were false, and had no basis.

“His Lordship the Chief Justice is saddened that without any shred of evidence, his name has been dragged into this sordid and potentially criminal matter.

“His Lordship further asserts that he has not demanded or received any money from any person to influence any decision,” the request said.

Apart from asking the CID to investigate, Justice Anin Yeboah has also indicated his intention to file a petition with the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council (GLC).

“His Lordship the Chief Justice is available to assist with all investigations into this matter, while he considers his own legal options to ensure that this matter is dealt with to its logical conclusions,” the request to the CID said.

Background

The bribery allegations levelled against the Chief Justice are in relation to a land case filed by Ogyeedom Atta VI (plaintiff), against Ghana Telecommunications Limited (first defendant), and the Lands Commission (second defendant).

Ogyeedom Atta VI accused Ghana Telecom of encroaching and erecting a telecommunication mast on a land belonging to his family.

The plaintiff won over $16 million in damages against Ghana Telecom at the Agona Swedru High Court, a decision which was challenged by the defendant at the Court of Appeal.

Ghana Telecom lost at the Court of Appeal, leading the company to file another appeal at the Supreme Court.

Petition to GLC

On March 1, this year, Ogyeedom Atta VI filed a petition against his lawyer, Mr Afrifa, at the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council (GLC).

The Afransi chief alleged that Mr Afrifa, apart from charging him GH¢300,000 as legal fees, also suggested that he paid $100,000 to be used as “ways and means (gymnastics)” to secure a favourable decision in the appeal filed by Ghana Telecom.

He claimed that after collecting the $100,000, Mr Afrifa's attitude changed, and he (Ogyeedom Atta VI) came to a conclusion that the lawyer did not use the $100,000 for its intended purpose.

According to the petition, Ogyeedom Atta VI demanded a refund of the $100,000, but Mr Afrifa had so far refunded $25,000.

Ogyeedom Atta VI is therefore asking the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC to direct Mr Afrifa to refund the remaining $75,000 to him..

“I am therefore appealing to you as the Chairman of the General Council of Lawyers to help me retrieve my $75,000 from Lawyer Akwasi Afrifa,” the petition by Ogyeedom Atta VI stated.

Related article: Lawyer Afrifa suspended for professional misconduct 

Allegations

In his response to the petition dated July 8, this year, Mr Afrifa denied suggesting to his client to pay any money to be used as “ways and means (gymnastics)”.

He alleged that it was rather Ogyeedom Atta VI who informed him (Afrifa) that the Chief Justice demanded $5 million to influence the case in his favour.

According to him, his client told him that he (Ogyeedom Atta VI), together with his friends who were “highly connected politically”, went to see the Chief Justice to help him win the case, and it was at the said meeting that the Chief Justice allegedly demanded the $5million bribe.

Mr Afrifa further alleged that his client informed him that the Chief Justice also advised him (Ogyeedom Atta VI) to sack him and engage the services of another lawyer.

Also, he alleged that Ogyeedom Atta VI therefore wanted him to refund the GH¢300, 000 legal fees to enable him to raise the $5million, and that he (Ogyeedom Atta VI) said he had allegedly paid $500,000 to the Chief Justice.

Lawyer Afrifa alleged that his client asked him to refund the GH¢300, 000 in dollar denomination which would be equivalent to $50,000, but did not give him any timelines for that.

He said “out of a sense of dignity”, he agreed to refund the money, and on January 27, this year, he paid $25,000 to Ogyeedom Atta VI.

“I categorically deny ever suggesting to the petitioner that he provides any money whatsoever for what he cryptically describes in the said petition as “ways and means (gymnastics),” Mr Afrifa said in his response.

Chief Justice's response

However, the Chief Justice has categorically denied the allegations contained in the response of Lawyer Afrifa.

According to the Chief Justice, he had had no personal relationship, neither had he had any personal interactions with Ogyeedom Atta IV..

“His Lordship the Chief Justice confirms that he does not know the plaintiff and has not met or seen him anywhere, except in the courtroom where he rises to announce his name when his case is called.

Indeed, the records 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, the Chief Justice said in his petition to the CID.

Also, the Chief Justice said the records of the case indicated that he (Chief Justice) was the only judge who dissented in an application by Ogyeedom Atta IV in the case.

Rejoinder

Ogyeedom Atta IV has also released a rejoinder denying the allegations by Mr Afrifa.

“I re-emphasise that I have never met the Chief Justice before or dealt with him directly or indirectly in official or private capacity, neither do I even know where he lives nor his phone number to have communicated with him,” the rejoinder stated.

Attached below is a copy of the petition by Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV and the response by Lawyer Akwasi Afrifa, rejoinder by Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV and the reaction by the Chief Justice.

Petition by Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV

Response by Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa

Rejoinder by Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV

Letter from the Chief Justice to the Police

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