Judge, Shaanxi officials to face Martin Amidu over bribery scandal

The National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption (NAPAIC) has announced plans to put the Upper East Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Justice Jacob B. Boon, and some officials of the Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd on trial before Ghana’s Special Prosecutor over a bribery scandal.

The officials of the Chinese mining firm were spotted four times secretly visiting the judge at his Bolgatanga residence during an undercover investigation by Starr News’ Upper East regional correspondent, Edward Adeti, in November and December, 2018, at the time the company was battling an Australian mining corporation, Cassius, in a suit before Justice Boon.

Subsequently, the Shaanxi officials presented a cash of Gh¢5,000 (971.16 U.S. dollars) and a brand-new motorbike worth about the same amount to the investigative journalist and promised him some paradisiac opportunities in an attempt to suppress the findings on their closet visits to the judge. Pressures also came from some public figures to have the story killed.

But the correspondent, who has 25 tapes on the investigation, took some of the investigative tapes and the bribe items to Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) as evidence and published the findings on Tuesday December 18, 2018. Subtle intimidations from familiar faces and anonymous threats on the journalist’s life trailed the publication.

“We demand that the Office of the Special Prosecutor should take notice of these corrupt officials. And as the laws of Ghana permit his office to do, these corrupt Shaanxi officials and the corrupt judges must dance to the tune of the laws against corruption in Ghana. We will resist any attempts by the collaborators of these corrupt officials to sweep this case under [the] carpet.

“We give the authorities two weeks from now. If nothing happens to these corrupt people, a massive demonstration will hit the whole of Ghana. Nobody is above the laws of this country. We believe that if action is not taken, justice will be sold to the highest bidder,” said NAPAIC President, Bismark Zumah, at a news conference held in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga.

NAPAIC calls for Immediate Interdiction of Justice Boon

Scores of local and foreign observers have expressed deep shock that Justice Boon is still at post three months after the investigative findings were aired and published, with some international justice promoters saying he would have been interdicted immediately elsewhere in the world for investigations to be conducted into the ex parte meetings and the ensuing bribery scandal.

NAPAIC President, Bismark Zumah (left), and Vice President, Ayeoh-duko Akobulgo-Zotipelba (right), addressed journalists at the news conference
NAPAIC President, Bismark Zumah (left), and Vice President, Ayeoh-duko Akobulgo-Zotipelba (right), addressed journalists at the news conference

NAPAIC expressed a similar alarm at the news conference, having petitioned Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, against Justice Boon and reportedly not given any feedback on the petition since January, 2019.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it would interest you to note that the Judicial Service officer named Justice Jacob B. Boon, who is said to be the core of the alleged corrupt act and the Presiding High Court One Judge and again the regional representative of the Chief Justice, is still at post.

“We are, therefore, pleading with you the members of the media to help us bring sanity to the wheels of the judiciary by supporting our call to immediately investigate the source of the allegation. That is to say the journalist who endured in exposing the act of corruption in the heart of the Upper East region and also bring to book the corrupt officials of the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited and more importantly the judge,” stressed NAPAIC.

The statement added: “We respectfully request that you verify from the BNI commander, Upper East region, and as journalists, you would believe that the matter cannot just be an allegation but a fact. And, therefore, we demand for the prosecution of all that are named in the exposé and request for immediate interdiction of the [Bolgatanga] High Court One Judge, Justice Jacob B. Boon, to avoid people appreciating ‘justice for sale’. In other words, to avoid people [buying] justice from judges who are corrupt and ready to punish innocent citizens or group of persons.”

NAPAIC revealed after the press conference that an action would be triggered soon at the Office of the Special Prosecutor on the scandal.