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Judge Boycotts Atuguba’s Case After Corruption Claim   
 
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19-May-2011  
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Some Judges and Magistrates have began living up to their resolution not to sit on cases involving four lawyers who have been accused of making damaging claims of corruption against the nation’s third arm of Government.

On Thursday May 19, An Accra High Court Judge refused to hear Dr. Raymond Atuguba, one of the four lawyers accused of making allegations of endemic corruption against the judiciary.

Dr. Atuguba was appearing before the Court as plaintiff's counsel for Sumaila Bilbil, a Bawku-based farmer who is contesting the citizenship of Bawku MP, Hon. Adamu Daramani in court.

The case has been adjourned pending investigations by the General Legal Council into claims by Dr Atuguba and three other lawyers that the judiciary was riddled with corruption.

Soon after proceedings, the complainant, Sumaila Bilbil, told Citi News he was disappointed with the Court’s posture, which has negatively affected his suit.

“I am very disappointed because I was expecting that the Judge will call me and ask me if I need to change a lawyer but they didn’t do that. The case is my case so I was thinking they will seek my views but they just went ahead to say they have adjourned it sine die”.

Mr. Bilbil told Citi News he has no option but to wait for the outcome of investigations into his lawyer's claim.

He however noted that he may be forced to seek the services of a new lawyer to conclude the case which has been running for about two years.

The Judges and Magistrates Association of Ghana, on Wednesday May 18, officially petitioned the General Legal Council against the four lawyers for claiming that judges and other officers of the Court in the country are corrupt.

It cited specific comments by the four lawyers, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary of the Constitution Review Commission, David Annan, a member of the NDC’s legal team, Mr. Laary Bimi, Chairman of the National Commission on Civic Education, and one Lawyer Abrahim Amaliba.

The Judges are requesting the body that regulates the country’s legal professionals to demand that the lawyers provide proof to back up their claims or face sanctions as prescribed by their guidelines.

Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), stated at a forum organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), that no one could convince him that judges in Ghana are incorruptible.

His colleague lawyer, Abrahim Amaliba, who spoke at the same NCCE event, stated categorically that corruption in the judiciary was no more a perception but a reality.

NCCE Chairman Laary Bimi and David Annan of the NDC’s Legal Team, are reported to have made similar comments published in various news papers and on some news websites. Copies of the said articles and stories have been attached to the petition submitted to the General Legal Council.

The Association says if the four lawyers are able to prove their claims before the Council their accusers will be sanctioned accordingly, whilst failure to prove them will suggest that the allegations are false and that their authors would have been deemed to be spreading rumours to tarnish the reputation of magistrates and judges.

According to the Association, its members have been “suffering in stoic silence" following numerous unsubstantiated allegations against them.

In the meantime, the Magistrates and Judges have threatened to recuse themselves from cases being handled by the four lawyers. The action of the Judge, who sat in High Court 25, appears to be the precursor of further actions by the Judges.

Meanwhile, Mr. Laary Bimmi, has called the bluff of the judges. He told Joy FM on Thursday May 19, that he will go into full-time farming if his license is withdrawn.
 
 
Source: citifmonline.com
 
 

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