The 25th day of July, 2014 arrived, the court room was packed with lawyers, attorneys and investigators waiting to pursue both civil and criminal cases. Friends, families and members of the public had taken their seats in anticipation of the dreaded judgment on the robbery case. Both the judge (Quist) and clerk Gyata were late in coming. This was because while the lawyers were waiting for him (Quist), he and his clerks were with us (Tiger team) to take the bribe as negotiated.
The Tiger team had split into two; one was in the court room and the other was with Quist at his famous Afia Hotel to give him the balance of the bribe money he had demanded in exchange for the discharge of the accused armed robber. It was not until 11 o’clock that Justice Quist and Gyata arrived at the court. They explained to frustrated lawyers that their late arrival was due to traffic.
After about some 30 minutes in chamber, Justice Quist appeared in the courtroom and the first case he called was “our” case involving Kwesi Nkrumah and his accomplices. The trial involved three accused persons. The prosecution had called four witnesses who had given their evidence in chief and been cross-examined.
It was obvious that this was a judgment that had been hurriedly cooked after the deal was brokered and the cash received that morning. Knowing the deal we had struck with the judge, we naturally expected and “not guilty” verdict. All the same, we were shocked beyond believe when Justice Quist, in acquitting our armed robber “friend”, read a scanty one page judgment.
In three minutes, all was over. Three minutes (one page) for an armed robbery case that had lasted five solid years (2009 – 2014). A cry of horror nearly burst from my throat, in spite of myself. It was nothing but shocking travesty of justice.
It even became more dramatic when, in his haste, Justice Quist forgot to even touch on one of the accused persons Napoleon Gomez. Napoleon Gomez had earlier on, in a confession statement during the trial, said that he was part of the robbery but Quist, in his haste after collecting the cash, had released him too.
Not even the most successful judge is safe in a world of thieves. Just imagine it! The pains of years of arduous and honest gathering and eventual acquisition ground to naught when a thief strikes. Dreams fulfilled at last after years of self-sacrifice and meticulous focus fizzle out in just a day, all because of thieves! Not all are able to survive such shocks. A thief is therefore a very dangerous element in every society. It is even worse when he is armed, not only with a weapon but also with the assurance of walking free from Justice Quist’s court if caught.
It would be recalled that in the…edition of The New Crusading Guide, Undercover – ‘Ghana In The Eyes of God’ broke. The story said that over 170 staff and judges of the judicial service would be unmasked for various acts of corruption that they had been engaged in.
This particular investigation lasted over two years, and the team, headed by our ace undercover reporter AnasAremeyawAnas, combed through the length and breadth of Ghana to establish these facts.
The painstaking nationwide operation covered the northern sector (Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions) the middle sector (Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Volta Regions) and the southern sector (Western, Central and Greater Accra Regions)
From judges’ drivers, police escorts, ushers, interpreters, bailiffs, through CID officials, prosecutors, investigators to clerks and registrars, everybody was shockingly eager to take bribes unabashedly so as to facilitate dubious meetings with judges and magistrates.
We caught different categories of people on hidden camera taking varying sums of money and gifts from desperate clients.
Stay put for a series of shocking stories of corruption on the part of people who have long been seen as the epitome of fairness and integrity: upholders of the national motto; “freedom and justice”.