Muntaka flip-flops on accusation against judiciary
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Asawase Constituency, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka has eaten back his words that a Supreme Court judge attempted to bribe a female minority legislator to vote for Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye for the Speakership position.
He has also retracted and apologised, calling on the public to let sleeping dogs lie.
According to him, he had reflected deeply and consulted broadly on the aftermath of the disclosure he made during an interview broadcast by Joy News TV on January 10, 2021.
The vociferous Asawase MP, who is the Minority Chief Whip, signed a statement issued last Saturday in which he admitted that, because he did not specifically name any judge in his allegation, that may have had the effect of scandalising the judiciary in its entirety, and as such, “this unintended consequence is deeply regretted.”
Giving the genesis, the MP said that the disclosure he made was based on a report from a trusted colleague, which was that she had been approached by a Justice of the Supreme Court seeking to entice her to vote for a particular candidate during the contest for speakership of Parliament.
“I, therefore, wish to respectfully retract same and apologise for the harm done to the image and reputation of my Lord Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary as a whole.
“Based upon good counsel, I have also decided to let sleeping dogs lie and will consequently refrain from any further public commentary on the matter which, as I have indicated, was originally reported to me by a female colleague Parliamentarian,” he wrote.
Muntaka implored the media and the general public to respect the spirit in which he offered the retraction and apology.
It was his fervent prayer that the existing historic cordial relations between the legislature and the judiciary will not be affected by this incident, but will continue to grow in the interest of the country.
Speaking in a television interview, Muntaka described the background work the NPP did ahead of the speakership vote, including the alleged act of inducement of his colleague NDC MP.
Muntaka, while talking about the election, also said: “…shamefully, a Supreme Court judge called a lady colleague telling her what they will give her if she votes for Prof Mike Oquaye. He told her that they will help her take care of her children. She can take fuel from a filling station for free for the next four years.”
He did not end there but proceeded to say, “…We [NDC] are going to look into it. We will look at the time he made those calls.”
His allegation was received with mixed feelings by Ghanaians, with some calling on him to name and shame the so called Judge. Giving some assurances, Muntaka said the NDC was ready to provide evidence to support the allegation.
The Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, also gave the assurance that he would ascertain the facts involved in the allegation.
The Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, in a press statement said the Chief Justice will seek the assistance of Muntaka.
However, a former Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo, upon hearing the allegation expressed her displeasure.
According to Ms Akuffo, the allegation has defamed other innocent judges of the Supreme Court who have built a reputation for themselves over the years.
She said, “They [judges] must be very upset, if I was still there, I’d be upset. I’m not there anymore but I’m still upset at the very thought that, that kind of accusation will be made.
“I don’t like accusations like that. It is like throwing a bucket of dirty water at people and you were aiming at somebody but you just threw it and it dirties up everybody.
“If it is true, be bold. If you are going to talk about it, if you are going to mention it, if you are going to bring it into the public domain, say everything that has to be said.
“You don’t have to, I know of eh! a Supreme Court…, there are, how many of them now, there are 17 people you have defamed in that casual manner but you are talking about only one person so there are 16 people who have been wrongly done by you,” Ms Akuffo said in an interview.