Africa

Ghana dismisses judges guilty of bribery charges

Anas Aremeyaw Anas with beads hiding his face
Image caption Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas (L), who hides his identity, went undercover to film

Twenty judges and magistrates have been sacked in Ghana after being found guilty of bribery.

The dismissals followed a thorough investigation into allegations of corruption in the judiciary, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood said.

In August, a journalist revealed that he had evidence showing judges demanding bribes and sex to influence judgements in court cases.

The revelation shocked Ghanaians who packed cinemas to see his documentary.

Announcing the sackings, the chief justice said she wanted to assure the public that the judicial council, the regulatory body for judges, would take "prompt and resolute" action to "redeem" the image of the judiciary.

Judicial council secretary Justice Alex Poku Acheampong said some of the sacked judges had been stripped of their benefits.

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Image caption Ghana's Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood says she will not tolerate corruption

However, the benefits of other judges had been retained, after they had shown remorse and had apologised "profusely" for bringing the judiciary into disrepute, he added.

Ghanaian journalist Sammy Darko says many people feel the judges got off lightly, and are demanding that they be prosecuted.

The sacked judges and magistrates were from lower courts, and had been investigated by a committee appointed by the chief justice. One judge was cleared of the charges.

A second inquiry, focusing on similar allegations against 12 High Court judges, has not yet concluded its work.

Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas handed over nearly 500 hours of video evidence on tape to the chief justice in August.


Who is Anas Aremeyaw Anas?

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Media captionAnas Aremeyaw Anas: Ghana's undercover journalist unmasked

Anas Aremeyaw Anas was something of an enigma, as he had never been seen in public without a disguise until he took off his trademark beaded veil in a BBC interview in November.

His fans call him a modern-day folk hero or the "James Bond of journalism" for his work in exposing alleged corruption and malpractice in Ghana and beyond.

In his 15 years of undercover journalism he has among other disguises, posed as a female investor in high heels, sunglasses and lipstick, and a janitor in a brothel. He has also secreted himself inside a fake rock placed at the side of the road with a peep hole for his eyes.

In his work he has exposed a human trafficking racket, corruption in the police and malpractice in a food processing plant. He argues that "there is no point in doing journalism, if it does not lead progress in your society". Mr Anas became a lawyer while working as a journalist.

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