A Private legal practitioner, Akoto Ampaw is denying what he calls a diabolical and crazy judicial bribery scandal in which he was alleged to have colluded with the Chief Justice to win a case for a client.
The astute lawyer in a statement condemned the allegation in its totality and maintained that he will not “permit anyone to sully my name on the altar of politics or personal convenience.”
He denied ever meeting the Chief Justice over the said case in contention where a former lawyer of his client was claiming that the case was taken from him on the advice of the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah. “For the record, I wish to state, without any equivocation, that the only dealings I have had with the Chief Justice in this matter have been in open court as the lawyer for Ogyeedom. Beyond that I have had no dealings whatsoever with the Chief Justice in this matter.”
“Furthermore, even though, of course, I have known the Chief Justice since his law student days in the 1970’s, once he became a judge, I have kept my respectful and studious distance from him, as I have from other justices of the Supreme Court, past and present, even if they may have been my friends in school”, Mr. Akoto Apaw indicated.
A Kumasi-based lawyer by name Akwasi Afrifa, whose client complained to the Ghana Legal Council (GLC) that he had persuaded the client to give him a substantial amount of money to pay bribes in order to assure a successful outcome for his case.
The lawyer in response to a petition filed against him before the GLC alleged that his client, Ogyeedom, had informed him that he (the client) had been taken to see the Chief Justice by a friend, and the Chief Justice, allegedly promised to procure a favourable outcome in Ogyeedom’s case before the Supreme Court, provided that he, Ogyeedom, agreed to pay him a whopping sum of $5million and further to replace his lawyer with Akoto Ampaw.
The Chief Justice in an earlier statement denied the allegation and referred the matter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for appropriate action.
Akoto Ampaw has also denied the allegation, stating that he initially did not want to respond to the preposterous allegation but “Ghana being what it is, tomorrow, people might say, but Akoto Ampaw did not deny the allegations.”
Giving a genesis of how he became counsel for Ogyeedom, Mr. Akoto Ampaw said some time at the end of July, 2020, Ogyeedom came to see him at his office with a request that he wanted the lawyer to take over the prosecution of his case in the Supreme Court.
“I indicated that it would be foolhardy on my part to take over a case before the Supreme Court that was to be heard in some two to three days’ time. I therefore urged him to still rely on his current legal team in the pending application and, if thereafter, he still wanted my professional services, I would be ready to hear him out.”
He said sometime later, during the legal vacation, last year, Ogyeedom came back to consult with him and, with much reluctance, he agreed to take up the brief, upon the very clear understanding that if he wanted him (Akoto Ampaw) to take up the case because he thought he was politically connected or had friends within the judiciary, then he was at the wrong place, as he did not carry on his work as a lawyer by such dishonourable means.
Counsel said he eventually agreed to take up the brief and filed notice of change of lawyer in the Supreme Court sometime in October and has since been in the Supreme Court on a few occasions in respect of the matter to move an application to adduce new evidence in response to the Court’s grant of an earlier application by the appellant to adduce new evidence.
He indicated that on March 31, 2021, the Supreme Court granted the application by a four to one majority ruling.
“Incidentally, the Chief Justice, who, according to lawyer Afrifa’s yarn, wanted me to be engaged as lawyer in the matter to facilitate an outcome favourable to my client, was the dissenting judge out of a panel of five. The records are there for anyone to access, including the media”, he stressed.
Mr. Akoto Ampaw in response to the allegation stressed that he has kept his respectful and studious distance from the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court “in order to avoid the slightest insinuation that I may be using my personal relationship with judges to subvert the cause of justice.”
“I have never even stepped into the Chief Justice’s official residence, since he was elevated to the high office. Yes, I know ethical values are in short currency in our dear country these days, and so people are cynical about almost everything and everyone, and are ready to believe the worst in any person.”
“I am also well aware that almost everything is now reduced to ugly partisan party politics, and that the main political parties will not lose an opportunity to have a go at each other, on the slightest of occasion, however tenuous the evidential basis. I can, however, assure Ghanaians that I am definitely not one of those who have lost their values and are ready to sell their soul to the God of money and political power. I have been involved in national life for over forty years now, and if it had been my desire to make money out of politics at the expense of the interests of our people, I would have done so long, long ago.”
“Even more preposterous is the infantile idea that I would collude with anyone, much more the Chief Justice of our Republic, to subvert the cause of justice. I will therefore not permit any one to sully my name on the altar of politics or personal convenience”.
Mr. Akoto Ampaw therefore served notice to any political group or commentator and also media practitioners that he would not have “anyone drag his good name and reputation down the slimy mud of corruption in order to curry political favour or boost audiences.”
“In particular, I wish to have it on record that I reserve all my legal rights and options occasioned by lawyer Afrifa’s scandalous and defamatory publication of, and concerning me”, he added.