Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka has retracted defamatory rumours he peddled against Supreme Court Judges just after the swearing in of Members of the Eighth Parliament.
The Minority Chief Whip had alleged that a Justice of the Supreme Court tried to bribe a National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament-elect (MP) to influence her in the election of a Speaker of Parliament.
However, Mr Muntaka in a statement retracted the corruption allegation and apologised for any harm done to the image and reputation of the Lord Justices of the Apex Court and members of the Judiciary.
“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.
“I implore the media and the general public to kindly respect the spirit in which I offer this retraction and apology.
“It is my fervent prayer that the existing historic cordial relationship between the legislature and the judiciary will not be affected by this incident but will continue to grow in the interest of the country,” the Asawase MP added in the statement.
The Chief Whip of the NDC Caucus in Parliament had on January 10, 2021 revealed in an interview on JoyNews that the attempted bribe took place on the eve of the inauguration of the Eighth Parliament.
According to him, his female colleague was being induced to vote for Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye as the Speaker as against the NDC’s Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who is now the Speaker of Parliament.
“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.
“So we (NDC) are going to look into it. We will look at the time he made those calls,” Mr Muntaka told JoyNews’ Emefa Apawu.
Consequently, the allegation sparked a national debate with many calling on the MP to name the Supreme Court judge involved.
Following the allegation, Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah gave the assurance that he will ascertain the facts involving the alleged bribe by a Justice of the apex court.
A statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, explained that the Chief Justice will seek the assistance of the person who made the allegation to find finality to the issue.
Reacting, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) said such allegations incited hatred for the Judges and exposed them to ridicule.
GBA in a letter dated January 12, 2021, also described Mr. Muntaka’s allegations as offensive and distasteful.
It asked the Asawase MP to substantiate his bribery allegations or retract same and apologise to the Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary in general.
Responding to GBA’s call, Mr. Muntaka admitted in his press release that not specifically naming any judge “may have had the effect of scandalizing the judiciary in its entirety.”
“This unintended consequence is deeply regretted,” he added.