Justice Dery petitions GJA to withdraw award to Anas

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1.9792503Embattled High Court judge, Mr Justice Paul Uuter Dery, wants the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to withdraw the 2015 Journalist of the Year award conferred on  Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Justice Dery was among 12 High Court judges, 20 magistrates and more than 80 court clerks caught on video allegedly taking bribes to influence the outcome of cases in court.

Twenty judges have so far been dismissed, while investigations are ongoing in the cases involving the rest, in what has come to be known as the biggest bribery scandal to hit the Judicial Service.

Justice Dery is currently challenging the capacity of Anas’s investigative agency, Tiger Eye PI, and the Supreme Court will, on October 27, 2016, give its judgement.

“By the GJA Award, are you not prejudicing the outcome of the case before the courts, especially the Supreme Court? Is it not contempt pendent lite?” Justice Dery queried.

The Issue

Justice Dery’s issue with the GJA is that the association should not have rewarded Anas as the Journalist of the Year when the suit challenging Tiger Eye PI’s capacity is still pending.

A petition dated August 30, 2016, signed by Justice Dery and addressed to the President, executives and regional presidents of the GJA, accuses the GJA of rewarding lawlessness.

According to Justice Dery, Anas exhibited lawlessness when he published the contents of investigations into corruption in the Judiciary and attempted to do it again in Kumasi until he was stopped by a court order.

He cited decided cases in his bid to prove a point that, under the law, it was unlawful to publicise the contents of a petition that was to be heard in camera.

Citing a recently delivered judgement, Justice Dery said: “By this judgement, Anas and his so-called company have been declared by the Supreme Court to have violated the Constitution by this so-called exposé of corruption in the Judiciary by the publications referred to herein.”

Describing Anas as a “non-law abiding citizen”, he said: “I wonder what the worth or value of the award is. Is the GJA rewarding lawlessness? Is it a sign for other journalists to breach the supreme law of the land with such careless or reckless abandon in order to be rewarded by the GJA?”

Free press

Justice Dery noted that free press was a creature of the 1992 Constitution, just like the Judiciary.

“Thus our constitutional jurisprudence abhors blatant breaches of the 1992 Constitution and anybody found to have breached any provision of the Constitution cannot be blessed with such awards like the one the GJA conferred on Anas.

“The award the GJA honoured Anas with has the propensity of sending wrong signals to other journalists, especially young and upcoming ones, that blatant violation of our constitutional order pays. You acquire fame and wealth by violating the constitutional order. That is what the GJA award to Anas on August 27, 2016 signifies.

“The Constitution of Ghana is the Supreme law of Ghana. So one wonders why a person like Anas, who intentionally violated the Supreme law of the Republic of Ghana, qualifies for the award the GJA gave to him for the very conduct that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional. Is it that the GJA’s best award is given to law breakers? Or the award was given to spite the Supreme Court?” he continued.

“I am not on suspension”

“I am, therefore, by this letter drawing your attention to the consequences of the award the GJA gave to Anas, while I give you and your association the opportunity to rectify a blatant wrong that has been inflicted on the whole of the Ghanaian public by the conferment of the said award.

“Your response to my letter will determine my next line of action, since I am determined to use all lawful and legal means at my disposal to ensure that the provisions of the 1992 Constitution are upheld and complied with by all persons.

“I would conclude these sentiments of mine by correcting the misinformation going around in both the print and the electronic media that I am on suspension arising out of the Tiger Eye PI petition.

“I am not on suspension. No prima facie case has been made against me to warrant my suspension. I am on administrative leave, which I applied for to enable me to use the legal process to clear my name and reputation which Anas  has sought to tarnish,” Justice Dery added.

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ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. He is a contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He is currently studying Msc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Public Relations (PR) and Energy at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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