The National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption Ghana (NAPAIC-Ghana) has condemned the attack visited on the acting Upper East Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Justice Alexander Graham, at his residence in Bolgatanga on Wednesday, March 10, 2023.
The anti-corruption group has also called on the Ghana Police Service to investigate the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Nanlebegtang Kugbilsong, and the two agents he had sent to the judge before the attack.
Before the attack, the two agents― the Chief of Baare, Nyakora Mantii, and the Secretary to the Tongraan, Richard Sunday Yinbil, had gone to the judge in his chambers and told him they had been sent by the Tongraan to invite him to his palace for discussions on some mining-related cases the judge was handling in his court.
The ordered the arrest of the two men immediately, stating their action amounted to contempt of court and an attempt to influence his decisions on the cases before him. The two men pleaded guilty and were convicted on their own plea. The judge ordered them to sign a bond of good behaviour for a period of six months before the Upper East Regional Police Command.
About five days later, some unknown persons visited an attack on the judge’s residence, throwing stones at his house. Gunshots were also heard around the house at the time. The judge fled the region the following day under police and military escort.
Addressing journalists at a press conference after the attack, NAPAIC-Ghana expressed the opinion that those who supported the contemptuous action of the two agents sent to the judge by the Tongraan on March 10, 2023, might have carried out the attack.
NAPAIC-Ghana also criticised a statement which the Talensi Traditional Council issued on March 17, 2023, in defence of the Tongraan, saying the statement was empty and riddled with contradictions.
Below is a copy of NAPAIC-Ghana’s press statement:
Good evening to you all, ladies and gentlemen of the press. We wish to welcome you to yet another news conference following the one we, members of the National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption Ghana (NAPAIC-Ghana), held last week.
We were shocked yesterday when the news broke that the Acting Upper East Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Justice Alexander Graham, had been escorted out of the region by the state security apparatus for fear of his life.
The news also indicated that there was an attack at his private residence on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, by unknown persons.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would recall that we mentioned to you the last time we met on Friday, March 10, 2023, that Justice Alexander Graham frankly deserved the title “His Lordship” because of the action he took against the Chief of Baare, Naab Nyakora Mantii, and the Secretary to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Richard Sunday Yinbil, and we recommended that the Chief Justice of Ghana should reward Justice Alexander Graham.
But to our dismay, it was not long after our press conference before the news of the violent attack on Justice Alexander Graham broke and spread. We think this is barbaric, uncalled-for and shameful.
It is our strong belief that people who supported the cruel and offensive actions of the agents of the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Nanlebegtang Kugbilsong, to entrap and influence Justice Alexander Graham might have carried out the attack or the threat (our opinion) on the judge. We humbly ask the security services, notably the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), to quickly put up an intelligence search on the perpetrators.
We are pleading with the Chief Justice, His Lordship Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, to as a matter of urgency put together firm security measures to protect the life, family and property of Justice Alexander Graham and to help the Upper East Region by keeping Justice Alexander Graham (the man of the moment) so that we the people of the Upper East Region can experience true justice from the Judiciary.
There are fears in the region that Justice Alexander Graham would be transferred from the region in the wake of the attack and this would serve as a bad precedent should he be transferred. This is so because anytime judgement would be given against litigants they would resort to this kind of attack on the judge in the hope that the judge would be transferred. This would also discourage judges from working as independently as they should because anytime they uphold the rule of law, the opposition to the rule would deliberately fight back and the only protection for them is to be transferred. We think this would turn the rule of law on its head and undermine our democracy.
We respectfully emphasise that Justice Alexander Graham must stay and continue with his good and exemplary work in the interest of the region without fear. This is our request to the Chief Justice.
Release from Talensi Traditional Council
Ladies and gentlemen, after the Chief of Baare and the Secretary to the Tongraan were convicted seven days ago on their own plea for contempt of court by His Lordship Justice Alexander Graham at the High Court 2 in Bolgatanga, it has come to our notice that the Talensi Traditional Council has put up a defence to the shameful act perpetrated by the convicted persons.
The defence is contained in a release dated 17th March 2023, and signed by the Chief of Tindongo, Naab Tampelgsong Kungaadzom.
We state categorically that the action of the two agents of the Tongraan was a plot to entrap and influence Justice Alexander Graham. The reasons are:
(i) Their visit to the judge’s chambers constitutes ex-parte communication because they were interested in mining-related cases that are before the judge for hearing;
(ii) The invitation to the judge through the agents to the Tongraan Nanlebegtang Kugbilsong also constitutes entrapment. Inviting the judge to his palace to discuss mining-related suits before the judge constitutes ex-parte communication which is unethical;
(iii) Their visit to the chambers with such a message is nothing but an entrapment and an attempt to influence the decisions of Justice Alexander Graham on those cases.
In their press release, they listed land cases said to have been referred by Justice Charles Wilson Adjei and Justice Alexander Graham of High Court 1 and High Court 2 respectively to the Tongraan to attempt a settlement as their basis to commit themselves to contemptuous actions. Judges normally look into the merit of a case as well as the relationship between a plaintiff and a defendant in referring matters to chiefs, traditional landowners, heads of clans and possibly for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This is a weak and hollow defence.
We want to reiterate the saying that nobody is above the law. So, the arrest, handcuffing and search of suspects are normal within law enforcement agencies. During the search, cell phones were found on the agents of the Tongraan who turned out to be accused persons. Cell phones are considered gadgets.
We see their attempts to defend the actions of the two convicted persons as face-saving and a dangerous way to do damage control.
We end by asking the Ghana Police Service to investigate the attack on the judge and to interrogate the convicted persons and the Tongraan.
Zumah Tii-roug (NAPAIC-Ghana member and recorder)
Akobulgo Zotipeliba Ayeo
Source: mywordfmonline.com/Gaspard Ayuureneeya .