First, it was a rumour. Now, it is a media report. We are told that a committee was set up to investigate Justice Jacob Bawine Boon, a supervising High Court judge in the Upper East Region, after I blew the cover of some secret meetings he had with some officials of the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited in 2018.
We are told that the committee anonymously cleared him of wrongdoing with a fabricated excuse that I was invited to appear with evidence before the committee but I failed to show up. When this information came first as a rumour, I did not take it seriously. I am responding today because that rumour has metamorphosed into a media report hurriedly published by those who do nothing to expose injustice except to support those who perpetrate injustice by writing reports to cover up glaring wrongdoing for obvious reasons. Before I look at the issue of the ‘ghost committee’, a quick reminder of what Justice Boon did.
I spotted Shaanxi officials at Justice Boon’s residence four times on separate days in 2018 between November and December during a period the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited was having a case before that judge at the Bolgatanga High Court One. After I contacted the mining company on the telephone to hear its side of the story prior to the intended publication of my investigative findings, a former Minister of State at the Presidency at the time, Rockson Bukari, called me from nowhere on the telephone and pleaded for the investigative story to be killed on behalf of the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, Justice Boon, et cetera. I never called Rockson Bukari. How did he know I had caught Justice Boon and Shaanxi together? It is obvious he was informed of my findings by the Shaanxi officials and was asked to intervene on their behalf.
Those who have that particular tape must have heard the names Rockson Bukari mentioned. Rockson Bukari’s long-suspected interests came clear on the investigative tape. He says (as captured on the tape) that Justice Boon is his friend and he and a traditional ruler have been backing the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited right from the start. Those were Rockson Bukari’s interests as far as that tape is concerned and it was on those bases he was urging me to cover up the dark secrets and promised (as you must heard on that tape and another tape) to arrange “something” for me from the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited. So serious was the secret that they brought cash and a motorbike to seal my mouth, and promised to bring more!
The tape came out and, whilst it was being circulated virally, Rockson resigned from government, admitting in his own resignation letter, which without doubt must have gone through a thorough legal vetting before it was submitted to the President of the Republic for acceptance, that he was “indiscreet” and acted against principle.
Before Rockson Bukari resigned on Monday April 29, 2019, Justice Boon had been informed about my findings way back on Monday December 17, 2018. That very day, Justice Boon, after he was exposed, confessed to the ex-parte meeting and recused himself from the case Shaanxi was having before him. The following day— Tuesday December 18, 2018— a story captioned “Judge recuses himself as Shaanxi officials attempt to bribe journalist” emerged online. Under the directive of the Chief Justice at the time, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Abena Akuffo, that case was remitted to another judge, Justice Asmah Akwasi Asiedu, to continue with. That case is in progress at the Bolgatanga High Court Two as I am putting this message across.
I remember a prominent lawyer in the country saying if Ghana was as serious with its justice system as some other countries, Justice Boon, immediately after he admitted to the ex-parte communications with a party involved in a case before him and recused himself before Rockson Bukari’s resignation followed as a result of the ex-parte visits to his house, Justice Boon would have been interdicted immediately.
Justice Boon was never interdicted. The rumour we heard later said an unidentified committee invited him and cleared him because I (Edward Adeti) was invited by the same ghost committee but I did not show up. That is completely false. I do not remember receiving any invite anywhere concerning the Justice Boon-Rockson-Bukari-Shaanxi scandal. The public wants to know the name of that committee, who chaired it, when was I invited, the medium through which I was invited and proof that I received the hypothetical invite.
To conclude, let me passionately remind all of us of the warning the immediate-past Chief Justice of the Republic, Ms Sophia Akuffo, gave after she was sworn in by President Akufo-Addo on Monday June 19, 2017.
“I’m passionate about integrity, the delivery of quality justice and the development and stability of our nation. And we will strive to demonstrate these passions throughout my tenure in the high office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana. The Judiciary is, indeed, the Bulwark of our Democracy and the Defender of the Rule of Law. A nation breaks down and descends into anarchy if its judicial system breaks down.”— Ms Sophia Abena Akuffo, Chief Justice of Ghana (June 2017-January 2020).
The Judicial Code of Ethics for Judges frowns seriously on what Justice Boon did. He admitted and it was on that basis he recused himself and, then, the case was remitted to another judge. How, then, can a ghost committee clear him? His action was a serious dent of the image of the Judiciary. Why should the law be bold when it is dealing with the poor and the weak but timid when those who have affluence and influence commit the same offence?
I am adding my voice to that warning issued by the former Chief Justice that if things continue like this, a chaotic future will come where the poor will rise against selective justice, poor men will defy court summons and will prefer to die in a struggle with security forces to submitting themselves to a court where the law does not recognise that all men are born equal.
In those unlikeable days ahead, the unscrupulous media practitioners who are defending and protecting the oppressors against the oppressed because of fleeting wealth and are seeking to discredit their colleagues who are protecting human rights and Democracy by fighting injustices, will have themselves to blame for the harm done to humanity. They will have themselves to blame if this “nation breaks down and descends into anarchy”. They will have themselves to blame for putting their selfish interest ahead of the public interest. They will have themselves to blame for deliberately aiding perpetrators of injustice and those who twist the arm of the Rule of Law to a level where the poor have no choice but to resist oppression and the nation descends into anarchy and breaks down.
What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I do not care who hates me or how many my enemies I have. My confidence is anchored to my conscience and my strength comes from the unseen Maker of the World. Just a few days ago, a wealthy man in this country paid for the stores belonging to some poor people to be demolished because he has a financial muscle. The poor people, who cannot feed their families today because their sources of survival have been flattened, may choose to seek justice in court. If the judge sitting down there is corrupt and the rich man sneaks to him to purchase justice at any price, where will the hungry poor people go? This is the reason I do what I do. They and their shameless collaborators can continue to hate me. The GOOD books of BAD people is the last place I want to see my name written. I do not want to be in the good books of those who are responsible for the tears of the innocent poor and their defenceless children.
When such people are exposed, then, you have some people, who do not know the head and tail of the issue, trying very hard to protect the guilty rich against the guiltless poor. The day you or your innocent loved ones are served the sour taste of injustice is the day you will understand which side of the protracted fight to belong. The ghost committee that anonymously cleared Justice Boon should come out clear. The cash, the motorbike, Rockson’s intervention and resignation, Justice Boon’s confession and recusal and the evidence clearly have exposed Justice Boon. The unidentified committee should come out clear. If you can put a lie on record, I can put the truth on record also. If you want to tell a lie about me, wait until I am deaf or dead. We must not watch unconcerned until the ailing justice system on this continent is put on a ‘ventilator’ for a chancy recovery. I will not be silent. I am not going to live forever. Defeat is not when you get killed whilst fighting. Defeat is when you surrender principles whilst fighting.
By Edward Adeti