The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has asked Mr Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase, to substantiate a bribery allegation against a Supreme Court judge relative to the election of the Speaker of Parliament.
A statement, signed jointly by Mr Anthony Forson Jnr, GBA National President, and Mr Yaw Acheampong Boafo, GBA National Secretary, said the bar had read and viewed with great concerns, accusations made in the media in recent times with respect to the judiciary.
“The Bar finds the allegations offensive and distasteful. They incite hatred among the public with regard to the judges, expose them to ridicule and put them into disrepute,” it said.
The statement noted that such allegations, with respect to the judiciary, eroded public confidence in the justice delivery process, and might result in lawlessness. It said on Sunday, January 10, Mr Muntaka made an allegation of bribery "concerning and touching a Supreme Court judge relative to the election of the Speaker of Parliament". It said the GBA found the comments "totally unacceptable and hereby calls on Mr Muntaka to substantiate the allegation or retract same and apologise to the justices of the Supreme Court in particular and the judiciary in general." The statement said though the 1992 Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech, that freedom should be exercised with circumspection and should not be used to incite hatred or to subject the judiciary to ridicule and contempt.
“We wish to take this opportunity to urge Ghanaians to be circumspect with respect to statements made regarding public officers and persons occupying positions of trust,” it said.
“They may be criticised, but the criticisms should be constructive and not disparaging and demeaning. Public servants must also act in a manner to inspire confidence in the general polity.”
The statement condemned “unreservedly the mayhem” that occurred in Parliament during the election of the Speaker of Parliament.
It said the association found it worrying that some elected representatives of Ghanaians would engage in such acts of “misconduct and bring the Parliament of Ghana into disrepute.”
The statement said the actions of the MPs were "blight" on the democratic credentials of Ghana, which was a shining example on the African continent.
“It is the expectation of the GBA that there will be no such chaotic and disorderly scenes in Parliament in future, and that the parliamentarians will always strive to safeguard Ghana’s democratic credentials,” it said.