You are demigods so act like one – PRO, Ghana Bar Association to Judges and Magistrates
Ghana Bar Association Public Relations Officer Savior Kudze has urged judges to maintain a high standard of integrity in their service to the nation, avoiding actions that could discredit the judiciary.
His comment was linked to the survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) titled “Ghana Public Service Integrity Survey 2021”.
According to the report, Land Commission officers, prosecutors, judges or magistrates and immigration officers are the three main categories of public officials who have received the largest cash bribes paid in 2021.
Average highest cash bribe [GHc1, 669] was paid to officers of the Land Commission, followed by prosecutors, judges or magistrates with an amount of GHC 1,208 and GHC 950 for immigration officers.
Reacting to the survey, Savior Kudze noted that it was rather surprising that corruption is still pervasive within the justice system, especially when investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas damningly exposed corruption in the judicial system not so long ago.
However, he is convinced that acts of corruption are the work of a few judges and magistrates and not of the majority.
“The judiciary is a human institution; of course, we can’t have everything right all the time. But it is the percentage awarded that is alarming. …Why should we still have this? But I think it all comes down to the people involved. But I can also say that I’m not convinced that many judges will demand bribes, but people will approach them,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express.
He noted that the only way to deal with the misperception of judges from the public perspective and break the arm of corruption was for judges to maintain high levels of integrity.
“You applied for a position as a judge; you have been interviewed; you have received a letter of appointment; your contract terms are specified; the only thing i want from you is an improvement in your terms of service and nothing else because people failed to solve a problem that’s why they are here to solve problems for you .
“You are the demi-god or mini-god on earth, so you must act as such. So integrity is important. Warren Buffet once said; expect three things in a person – intelligence, energy and integrity if the last one isn’t there, forget the first two. And that’s what I think our judges should be thinking about,” he said.
He added that “But as I said, I don’t sincerely believe that many judges, magistrates will demand bribes. So the intermediaries and the users of the courts, including us lawyers, it is we who will try to influence them. But it is up to them [the judges] calling the police whenever such attempts are made is where their integrity will be put to use.
He continued: ‘Because if you are a man of integrity and your word is I will not take bribes, so any attempt to bribe me I will let the law take its course. People know bribery is a crime, why would you be bold enough to approach a judge? Would a judge be bold enough to ask for a bribe? But the temptation is there, so people will approach you, but if you’re not strong enough in terms of integrity, you’ll fall for it.