Nominee to the Supreme Court Justice Yaw Asare Darko says corruption in the judiciary is more perception than real.  

According to him, the perception is fueled by several factors, emphasising that a significant portion of the population lacks a comprehensive understanding of how the legal system operates.

Speaking during his vetting on Wednesday, December 20, after he was nominated to the Supreme Court, Justice Darko stated that legal matters can be exceptionally challenging, noting that individuals may experience unfavourable outcomes in their cases not necessarily due to judicial corruption, but rather as a result of misguided loyalty or a lack of comprehension of the legal procedures involved.

“I remember when I was in practice, I was consulted by vessel owners outside the country who wanted me to arrest a vessel in Ghana based on a certain claim that they thought they had. When they brought the documentation, I advised them that this claim that you have can be pursued in England, but in Ghana, our laws would not allow you to go to court and pursue this particular case based on the way you framed it.

“I didn’t hear from them – I think after two weeks they called me. They sent me a message that they have contacted a first-class maritime lawyer who has assured them that the claim can be pursued in Ghana. So I left the matter. After some time, I heard that the claim eventually ended up at the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court struck out the claim that it was incompetent because it could not be pursued in Ghana. 

“I happened to meet one of the white men at an occasion somewhere and asked what happened to your case. ‘He said don’t mind your corrupt judges. The lawyer went and gave them money.’ I was shocked because the claim was bad, and I was shocked that he could say that some lawyer went to give money and five Supreme Court judges took bribes to do this, I was shocked,” he said.

Responding to questions by Members of Parliament at the Appointments Committee, Justice Darko admitted that there are persons who peddle influence in the corridors of the judiciary claiming to influence judges and swindle the unsuspecting public of their money. 

“So there’s always this idea that people don’t understand why they lose cases and beyond that, there’s an industry that lags around the judiciary. People have made it their lifestyle where they come and say that ‘give me money let me go and give it to the judge’. 

“It is the reality. We can’t dispute that. It is their lifestyle, their livelihood, so it makes this whole idea of tagging the judiciary as being a corrupt institution very worrisome,” Justice Darko said.

The Supreme Court Justice nominee emphasised that he has been on the bench for four years and can attest to the fact that “judges that I have come into contact with are some of the finest people I’ve ever met in my life, and I’m not saying this to make up for any judges.” 

He asserted that some of the judges he interacted and met with hold their reputations dearly and was puzzled as to why these people have been accused of being corrupt. 

“I will not dispute the fact that there may be some bad nuts. There may be some bad nuts who may probably be ruining the reputation of the judiciary but there are remedies that the judiciary is already pursuing vigorously,” Justice Darko said.

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