ECOWAS court asks Ghana to hold on with impeachment of Justice Dery, 2 others

Ghana has been advised not to proceed with impeachment proceedings against three of the country’s High Court judges implicated in the 2015 Anas judicial bribery scandal. Justices U.P. Dery, Mustapha Habib Logoh and Gilbert Ayisi Addo in November 2016 sued the government of Ghana, the Chief Justice, the Judicial Council and the Attorney General at the Community Court of West Africa in Abuja, Nigeria claiming violations of their human rights. Pending the determination of that substantive case, they again on March 29, 2017 filed an application at the same court seeking an interim injunction ( application for provisional measures and instructions) to stop their impeachment process. READ: I’m not on suspension, I’m just on my leave – Justice Dery At the hearing of the application for provisional measures (injunction) Wednesday April 25, 2018 in Bamako, the three-member panel fixed May 30 to deliver its ruling after both lawyers for the applicants and the State of Ghana made their oral submissions. Justice Dery, Logoh and Ayisi claimed the Chief Justice was proceeding with their impeachment proceedings despite the current application before the ECOWAS court. READ: Justice Dery loses “half-salary” battle at Supreme Court They told the court that per an April 6, 2018 letter, the Chief Justice ordered them to “to appear for commencement of impeachment proceedings on Wednesday 11th April 2018. “The defendant is taking active steps to overreach the plaintiffs and render moot any judgement of this court in favour of the plaintiffs” the three judges who are currently on interdiction claimed. Accordingly, they prayed the court to restrain the Chief Justice from going ahead with impeachment proceedings against them until their substantive case is determined. Consequent to the arguments put forth by Nii Kpakpo Addo, the lawyer for the three judges, the court instructed Chief State Attorney Mrs. Dorothy Afriyie-Ansah to advise the Chief Justice to desist from taking any further steps against the three judges until after the ruling on May 30. Meanwhile, the Court is expected consider the substantive case on May 30 after it has delivered its ruling in the interim injunction.

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Background Anas Aremeyaw Anas in September  2015 released a video documentary of an investigation which showed more than 100 judicial staff including court clerks and 34 judges at the country’s High Courts, District and Magistrate courts allegedly taking bribes from litigants to compromise justice delivery in cases before them in the various courts. The three-hour edited video, which is the result of a two-year painstaking investigation into the judiciary by the award winning investigative journalist, triggered a number of law suit against him, his Tiger Eye PI investigation team and other individuals. Some of the High Court judges indicted in the corruption quagmire initially filed a motion in a bid to stop the public screening of the video at the Accra International Conference Centre but that failed. But that was just the beginning of a number of suits to come. Currently, Anas is caught in a legal web with some of the judges, including Justice UP Derry who has filed multiple cases from the High Court to the Supreme Court. At least 25 of the judges implicated in the scandal have been dismissed from the Judicial Service in accordance with regulation 27 (2) of the Judicial Service Regulation 27 (2) after they were found guilty of stated misconduct. By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana ]]>