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Fired judge dies from high blood pressure after being exposed

Date published: Thursday, 5th May 2016

One of the High Court judges dismissed for his role in the judicial corruption scandal unearthed by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has reportedly died of high blood pressure.

According to Citi News sources, Justice Francis K. Opoku died this afternoon [Wednesday] at Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo region.

Justice Francis K. Opoku and Justice Kofi Essel Mensah were dismissed on April 19 this year, after they were found to have taken bribes to influence justice.

According to a statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku Acheampong, the action was taken following recommendations by the committee formed to investigate allegations of “stated misbehaviour” levelled against them.

The statement further explained that in the case of Justice Francis K. Opoku, a second petition for his removal from office was submitted to the President by the Judicial Council on October 29, 2015 on grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence following complaints about his failure to sit regularly as a Justice of the High Court at the High Court, Bolgatanga.

The Committee after investigating the matter made the following observations: Engaged in ex-parte discussion with agents of Anas in respect of the case “Webajuwa Bazilyern vs. Kaponga Kunipwah contrary to Rule 3(7) of the Code of Conduct for Judges and Magistrates of Ghana.

Received money from the petitioner and his team with a promise to satisfy the wishes of a party in a case that was pending before him.

In line with the above however, the committee concluded that Justice Opoku’s conduct constituted “stated misbehaviour contrary to Article 146 (1) of the 1992 constitution and Rule 3(7) of the code of conduct for judges and magistrates in Ghana.”

“In respect of the second petition against him, the committee found that Justice Opoku’s dereliction in the performance of his duties and continued absence from duty at the High Court, Bolgatanga had eroded public confidence in the Judiciary in the region and portrayed him as incompetent. It concluded that his conduct constituted stated misbehaviour and incompetence contrary to Article 146 (1) of the 1992 constitution.”

Other dismissals  Some 22 lower court judges and 12 High Court judges were captured on video in a two-year investigative piece by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, allegedly taking bribes to influence justice.

So far, 20 of the lower court judges have been removed from office. Some nineteen judicial service employees have also been fired for their roles in the scandal.

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