Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said he is in “pain and anguish” after news broke that 34 judges have been videoed taking bribes to free robbery suspects. The indicted members of the bench includes 22 lower court judges and 12 seniors of the High Court.
The magistrates are on suspension after watching the damning video as a five-member body investigates the allegation while 10 of the High Court justices are expected to respond to the impeachment petition by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. The other two are on retirement.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Kumasi, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said: “The spirit of the nation is in despair. I don’t think that anyone could have foreseen this conference would open under the cloud that has engulfed the judicial service.”
The monarch said Ghanaians feel “betrayed” and are in pain.
“I speak with the pain of a nation betrayed and the anguish of a people ravaged whose fate in their nation’s most cherished institutions now lie in a crashed earth.”
However, the Asantehene told the gathering all is not lost yet because the world still believes in Ghana.
He noted: “Beyond the pain and anguish I come to you with faith and hope and faith in our capacity to rise from the ashes of despair. For a start, the world can be assured that the commitment of the nation to democracy is irreversible.
“And that everyone is aware that the commitment to democracy will be hollow without a robust credible judicial arm… whatever it takes and however long it takes all of us will rally to salvage the integrity of the judiciary. We can neither afford any compromises.”
He said the corruption scandal that has hit Ghana’s judiciary is a “wakeup call for all arms of government… whether you are in the executive or the legislature, the police or customs the warning bell is loud.”
The undercover video is expected to be premiered at the Accra International Conference Centre on September 22.