ECOWAS court rejects appeal by 3 sacked Supreme Court judges

ECOWAS court rejects appeal by 3 sacked Supreme Court judges

- An ECOWAS Court has rejected an appeal by three sacked Supreme Court judges

- This was with regard to a secret film recorded as they collected bribes from people

The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) has upheld the sack of three Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana.

The Justices, Paul Uuter Dery, Mustapha Habib Logoh and Gilbert Ayisi Addo, were among over 30 judges secretly filmed while accepting bribes.

The Anas Aremeyaw Anas-led Tiger Eye PI team carried out the undercover investigation in 2015.

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In a judgment on Monday, April 29, 2019, a three-man panel of the ECOWAS Court dismissed the suit, marked ECW/CCJ/APP/42/16, filed by the Justices and held that it was not meritorious.

In the judgment read by Justice Dupe Atoki, the court held that the applicants failed to prove that their rights were violated in process leading to the disciplinary actions taken against them by the Judicial Council of Ghana.

It also held that although the secret filming of the Justices in their offices, done without their consent, amounted to interference with their right to privacy, the interference was justifiable as it was meant to expose unlawful conduct by public officers.

The court also upheld the argument by the state of Ghana, to the effect that the secret filming of the Justices was supported by Article 1(1)(b) of the Whistle Blower Act of Ghana and Section 61 of the Data Protection Act of Ghana.

It found that the applicants’ right to privacy was interfered with by the secret filming of their activities, but went further to hold that the interference, being premised on national legislation, is in compliance with the law.

Per a report, the court again noted that as Justices who did not deny knowledge or ignorance of the law, they ought to know that their conduct would be subjected to scrutiny as public officers.

It further agreed with the state of Ghana that, in engaging in the alleged act of accepting bribe, the applicants ought to have known that they would be opened to secret investigation.

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The court also held that the applicants failed to prove their claim that the respondent violated their rights to fair hearing, non-discrimination/equality before the law and right to work.

It posited that while two of the applicants failed to respond to the query handed them by the Chief Justice, they challenged their suspension and investigation up to the Supreme Court and lost in all the six cases they filed.

It said, having rightly exercised their right to access the court up to the highest court in Ghana, the applicants cannot claim to have been denied fair hearing.

The Ghana Judicial Council suspended the Justices in 2016, while a committee investigated a petition written against them by Anas and Tiger Eye PI Limited.

While on suspension, they were placed on half salaries, and at the conclusion of its investigation, the committee recommended their removal, which the president approved in December 2018.

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Source: Yen

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