US-based Ghanaian Professor, Kwaku Asare, has said that the apology rendered by Asawase Member of Parliament for his bribery allegation against a justice of the Supreme Court, should not obstruct the judicial inquiry into the matter.
He said the allegation, if true, is serious enough to warrant some consequences. And equally, if it is false and had no basis, is serious enough to warrant some consequences.
Muntaka has apologised for the bribery accusation he made against a justice of the Supreme Court after the elections of a speaker for the 8th Parliament.
Portions of his apology read “Based upon good counsel, I have also decided to let sleeping dogs lie and will consequently refrain from any further public commentary on the matter which, as I have indicated was originally reported to me by a female colleague Parliamentarian.” Commenting on this in a Facebook post, Professor Asare said “I read somewhere that Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, the honourable MP for Asawasi has retracted his allegation against members of the Supreme Court.
“When one reads the purported apology carefully, as one should, one easily sees that he is not really withdrawing the allegation but apologizing for making a general, rather than a specific, allegation. That is, he is apologizing for saying Supreme Court justices, rather than mentioning the name of the Justice involved, but “letting sleeping dogs lie” on the allegation itself against the Justice.
“This, to me, is hardly adequate. Either the allegation in its entirety is false and he must withdraw same in its entirety, render an unqualified and unconditional apology and fall on his sword by being made to answer for his contumacious remarks. Or there is a basis for the allegation and a full-throttle investigation is still warranted to unravel the puzzle.
“However, I’m not oblivious of our “fa ma nyame” culture and I’m certain that we will close the chapter on this one and move on as if nothing has happened.
In fact, I won’t be surprised if the broad-based consultation he says he made reached a settlement that we the masses be given a tranquillizer in the form of this half-baked apology.
“In the process, those who claimed his allegation was baseless will claim victory. Those who claim it had merit will equally claim victory. The only victims are truth and what actually happened. It is my hope that this apology does not preempt the judicial inquiry into the matter. The allegation, if true, is serious enough to warrant some consequences. And equally, if it is false and had no basis, is serious enough to warrant some consequences. Surely, we must let sleeping dogs lie. But that is not to say that we must put barking dogs to sleep.”
Muntaka had alleged that an unnamed justice of the Supreme Court attempted to bribe a female National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmaker during the election of a speaker for the 8th parliament.
He told Joy News Sunday, January 10 while discussing issues regarding the election of a speaker for the 8th Parliament that “There was one that was led by, I mean so shamefully, a Supreme Court judge [who] called a colleague lady, telling her what they will give her, she has children [and] they will take care of her children; she can take fuel from the filling station for the four years.”
He reiterated his allegation on Citi TV Monday, January 11.
He said “The former Majority Leader, the Leader of Government business over the weekend was accusing the NDC’s side that we were bribing Members on their side.
“I said no if you are talking about bribing then find out who and who were calling members from my side. And then, I went forward to say that I can tell you if he cares to know, even some members of the Supreme Court were calling members of my side.
“One of the people that they called, they were promising her all manner of things, that she should mention her price. I don’t take what I say lightly, I have heard people saying all manner of things, we know what we are doing and we know what we are holding.”
When asked whether he will be able to adduce evidence to that effect, he said “Definitely we will provide all those things, the call that he made, the time that the call was made and everything is there, so it is not in doubt.
“If it comes to the probe of all the things that happened on that day I am sure if it becomes necessary and it comes up, Obviously, it will be made known, the Member on my side who was approached is alive, she is not dead.”
The Chief Justice responded to the allegation in a statement signed by Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, Judicial Secretary on Wednesday, January 13.
The statement said the Chief Justice of Ghana, Anin Yeboah was taking steps to solicit the assistance of Muntaka to establish the facts following the allegation the lawmaker made against the Justice who he claimed attempted to bribe National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP to vote for Professor Mike Oquaye during the election of a speaker for the 8th parliament.
“The Judiciary has noted with grave concern the remarks of Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Hon Member of Parliament for Asawase, which have been widely published in the media alleging that a Justice of the Supreme Court attempted to bribe a female Member of Parliament to vote for Professors Mike Aaron Oquaye, in the election of a Speaker of the 8th Parliament, which took place on 7th January 2021.”
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) asked Muntaka to substantiate his allegation. The GBA said it finds this allegation offensive and distasteful because it can incite hatred among the public with regards to the Judges and also expose them to ridicule.
A statement co-signed by President of the GBA Anthony Forson Jnr and Secretary Yaw Acheampong Boafo on Thursday, January 14 said “The Bar has read and viewed with great concern, accusations made in the media in recent times with respect to the judiciary.
“The Bar finds the allegations offensive and distasteful. They incite hatred among the public with regards to the Judges, expose them to ridicule and put them into disrepute. Such allegations with respect to the Judiciary undermine the integrity of and erode public confidence in the justice delivery process and may result in lawlessness.
“On Sunday 10th January 2021, the Member of Parliament for Asawase, Honourable Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, made an allegation of bribery concerning and touching a Supreme Court judge relative to the election of the Speaker of Parliament. The GBA finds the comments totally unacceptable and hereby calls on the Honorable Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka to substantiate the allegation or retract same and apologize to the Justices of the Supreme Court in particular and the Judiciary in general.
“The GBA wishes to state that even though the 1992 constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, that freedom should be exercised with circumspection and should not be used to incite hatred or to subject the Judiciary to ridicule and contempt.”
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