The Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, is being accused of covering up a corruption case brought to her attention by a property agent, Kofi Owusu, against the Madina Magistrate Circuit Court judge, Richard Delali Anku.
The presiding judge is being accused of bias, corruption and injustice, over an assault case brought before him by one George Gaisie against Mr Owusu, from whom he had rented a house.
Mr Owusu, alleged that the police prosecutor on the case, Chief Inspector Sophia Demuah, demanded an envelope from him to be given to the judge, as a result he has been denied a hearing and threatened with remand among others for refusing to heed to the bribery.
He, therefore, petitioned the Chief Justice over the conduct of the Madina Magistrate Circuit Court judge. However, the Chief Justice in a reply dated October 16, 2018 and signed by Justice Juliana Amonoo-Neizer, said, “I am directed by Her Ladyship the Chief Justice to inform you that investigations into the petition revealed no wrongdoing against the Magistrate. The Magistrate has therefore been requested to continue hearing the case. You are therefore advised to cooperate with the Court for an expeditious hearing”.
Mr Gaisie, had allegedly paid GHc9000.00 as part payment of GHc12, 000.00 of a one year rent advance to Mr Owusu, however, after the accommodation was provided, he allegedly renovated the property without permission from the property agent; and this has become the bone of contention between the two.
Mr Gaisie, who is opting out of the property, claims that he informed the owner of the property, who is domiciled abroad, But Mr Owusu, says since he is unaware of the said renovation, he cannot refund the funds spent on the property.
“I did not agree with the outgoing tenant to do any extra works whatsoever on the rented property or, am I privy to it. Am only representing the property owner whom he claims authorize the extra works”. Am not in any case accountable to any negotiation and / or costs of acclaimed renovation and/ or extra works on the rented property”, Mr. Owusu had said.
Mr Owusu, has pleaded not guilty to the “inducing tenant” and “assault” charges and has also gone further to allege that, the Police prosecutor handling the “assault” case, Sophia Demuah, is demanding an “envelope” from him to be given to the judge.
He has refused to fall for this alleged demand and so according to Mr Owusu, the prosecutor has reliably told him that, his reluctance to offer the said money has led to the“harsh, biased, unfair and hostility”towards him by Judge Anku.
“The Prosecutor, Chief Inspector Sophia Demuah affirms, because I failed to bring along the said “envelope” to be given the judge before the first court sitting us she arranged, the reason the judge is so angry and therefore hostility”.
He has also complained that the judge has also refused to look intothe substantive case of “inducing tenant” and “assault” and now demanding that he pays “One (1) year rent advance I legitimately collected and delivered. The relevant charges brought before the judges are not discussed nor, facts, evidences, demanded to ascertain the authenticity of the case.
“ Am not allowed to speak anything regarding the charges nor, the said amount of money demanded of which I know nothing about save, the exact amount (GH 9000 only) as part payment of GHc12, 000.00 transferred into my accounts by the out-going tenant (who opted to quit on his own volition).
In court, the judge is not dealing with the charges rather, forcibly demanding payments regarding the rent and acclaimed renovation cost on the property amid threats, intimidation and fear”.
Mr Owusu, has petitioned the Chief Justice (CJ) Sophia Akuffo, twice to transfer the case titled “The republic vs Kofi Owusu” over claims of bias but these did not yield any result.
In the first petition dated August 9, 2018 captioned “Petition to transfer a case titled “The republic vs Kofi Owusu” from the Madina Magistrate Circuit Court Two (2) Presiding Judge: Richard Delali Anku for being bias”, Mr. Owusu decried the unfair treatment being meted out to him by the said judge.
He wrote “the open display of cruelty, biasness, and lack of transparency without recourse to the charges leveled against me. His continual abuse of my right to speak in a matter am accused of save, I ONLY listen and obey his order or be detained until FULL PAYMENT is made”.
He is being threatened with bench warrant and remand by Judge Anku in the event that he declines to pay the rent he took from the accuser which he says was “legitimately collected” by him.
Mr Owusu said “I have already spent 10 days in Police custody” even though he argues the case in question is a civil one.
In the first petition, Mr. Owusu accuses Mr.Gaisie of colluding with heavily armed police patrol team to invade the said property “dragged me out, took me to police station amid humiliation, embarrassment that am not supposed to be in the house I rented out. The armed police patrol team aided George Gaisie to lock-me out of the property with a master key I granted him”.
The action of Mr. Gaisie and the said Police officers especially DSP James Asiedu of the Dome/ Kwabenya forced Mr. Owusu to petition PIPS in March 28, 2018 to deal with the conduct of the officers.
In the case of the Madina Magistrate Circuit Court judge, after the refusal of the Chief Justice to have his case transferred to a different judge and court per Mr Owusu’s request, he wrote back to her in a second petition dated November 2, 2018, begging her to see reason with him to transfer the case.
He reiterates his position that he has not been given fair hearing and being forced and threatened to pay all monies demanded by Mr. Gaisie without explanation on his part of the story heard.
According to him, he is likely not to be given fair hearing after he made known the demand of “envelop” by the Prosecutor to the judge in his first petition to the CJ.
“Your Honourable Ladyship, I have also divulged the arrangement made by the prosecutor to “visit the judge in chambers with envelop of cash “in my earlier petition (August 9, 2018). And, I sincerely believe that all of the above will NOT warrant me FAIR TRIAL in his court. I therefore, plead and pray your Honorable Ladyship, to re-consider my humble plea to transfer the case as such.
He cited a scenario in the last court session in October 16, 2018 where “The judge was so furious at me and threatened “The sanctions will be heavy” when the prosecutor drew his attention to the petition and response from the “Office of the Chief Justice”.
The next sitting is tomorrow Tuesday November 20, and he is begging the CJ, to rescind her decision and grant him the opportunity to transfer the case to a different judge for fair, transparent, and unbiased adjudication.
The petition concluded that “Respectfully Your Honourable Ladyship, I pray, based on all of the above and more reasons listed, you may kindly reconsider my humble petition to transfer the case from the said judge to another for a fair trial. I pray, Your Honourable Ladyship, respectfully grant me my humble request before next court date schedule, November 20, 2018”.