Ghana’s award-winning investigative journalist has done it again! This time, Anas infiltrated Ghana’s courts and has reported serious evidence of corruption by judges, magistrates and other judicial service staff. Now [assuming that the allegations are true], then I am more deeply terrified that all the “corrupted” judgments that the implicated judges passed on the said cases, may have, or could hold to be judicial precedents, which may be cited by others in future cases. Even more alarming, there are those who escaped being caught on tape, and who may have provided similarly corrupted judgments, that are being today applied as valid judicial interpretations of the law. I am no legal expert, so my question is what happens to the tampered judgments by these unjust Justices?
My former boss, Gordon Biaku hated to see a mistake in any report I would write for him. He often said that finding one mistake is not troubling as the suggestion that there could be other mistakes that we have not found yet, hiding in the report, and making our insights faulty. It is a caution I have carried with me since, and one with which I now also hold others responsible. I am less alarmed by the iceberg this whole revelation smashes into the confidence in our judicial system. I am more terrified by the things we hold as truth, which were in fact birthed by corrupted hands, and is in deed no truer than this rude reminder that “a desperate society is a danger unto itself”. When those we hail, “my lord”—who are in deed no lords over us at all, but servants, who are entrusted with the sacred duty of mediating equity among us—lord their service to us over us and finger our communal trust in the shadows, then we know we are on a sinking ship.
But, why do I sound so exasperated, painting an opera so bleak. I would be expecting too much of people, wouldn’t I, even of myself, for I am no saint. I have no right to postulate any moral highhandedness, a sinner like me! So this is not a critique of me and my countrymen, rather an appreciation, a reflective sigh, not a condemnation.
Somehow we all know that from the Machiavellian common man who is skilled in paying every man his price to the policeman on the street who unabashedly extorts his meal plan from drivers to the “honorable” judge in the courtroom to the voyeurs in the corridors of our Ministries who charge a fortune per signature, to the pickpocketing pastors who render God in more ridicule than an irritated atheist, to the pilferers in Customs uniforms on our borders and back to the household with illegal electricity and cable television connections, we have enough anecdotal evidence to prove that we are a corrupt nation. Remember the judges did not bribe themselves; someone offered, and they accepted. Even Anas’ intricate understanding of how to successfully bribe a judge smacks of the charming society we live in. We are fools if we trust ourselves; we are fools if we don’t! These Justices are our men of honour; it speaks volumes about our sense of honour.
I am not excited by the proof that we are a corrupt society; I know this, and so do you! I am more enticed by the painful evidence that we are all corruptible. I need to find my price, because that day is coming when someone will make me an offer that I would find worthier than my moral hold. I should know my price then, otherwise I may fall for any offer, and it might not be worth the trouble, and I will hate to know that they will know my price before I do. So should you! Find your price, for the man of bribery is coming, and you shall not escape him. Make sure you are worth your fall.