The presiding judge of the High Court 2 in Bolgatanga, Justice Alexander Graham, has fled the Upper East Region following a sudden raid on his Bolgatanga residence by some men on Wednesday night.
Sources say the men, who are as unknown as the motive of their attack for now, hurled stones at the house, prompting the judge’s bodyguard to call for reinforcement.
When the men sensed that a security team was on the way to the scene, they left the area at once. Soldiers took over the premises of the residence and provided security for the judge overnight. It was gathered that the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, upon receiving information about the development, told the judge to proceed to Accra without delay. At dawn on Thursday, the judge was escorted by soldiers to the Tamale International Airport and was flown to Accra.
The attack comes less than a week after Justice Graham convicted two men sent to him by the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Nanlebegtang Kugbilsong.
The two men―the Chief of Baare, Naab NyakoraMantii, and secretary to the Tongraan, Richard Sunday Yinbil―entered the judge’s chambers on Friday, March 10, 2023, and told him the Tongraan had requested to have a private meeting with him at his palace at 9:00 am the following day. They said the purpose of the proposed meeting was for the Tongraan to offer the judge more details on some mining-related lawsuits which had been filed from Talensi at his court.
In a swift response to the message from the palace, the judge stormed out of his chambers and ordered police officers, who were in the courtroom at the time, to arrest and handcuff the two men immediately.
Speaking to the audience in the courtroom, Justice Graham described the move by the palace as an attempt to influence his decision on the cases before him. Minutes later, the men were charged with contempt and put on trial. They pleaded guilty and were convicted on their own plea.
The judge appeared prepared to send the accused persons to jail. But about twelve lawyers, who were in the courtroom at the time for different cases, intervened with prayers for mitigation on behalf of the two men. Adding his voice, one of the lawyers, Mohammed Damanko Abdulai, told the judge that the Tongraan had communicated with him by phone expressing regrets for his action and asking him to plead on behalf of his agents.
In the end, the judge ordered the accused persons to sign a bond of good behaviour at the Upper East Regional Police Command for a period of six months.
The High Court 2 did not sit on Thursday in the wake of Wednesday’s violent attack. Currently, the High Court 1 equally has not been in session for some time because its presiding judge, Justice Charles Wilson Adjei, is on leave.
Meanwhile, anti-corruption group, National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption Ghana (NAPAIC-Ghana) condemned the attack on Justice Graham and indicated that it would convene a news conference soon on the development.
The attack on Justice Graham, whom many observers say has remained incorruptible throughout his career as a judge, is similar to the attack visited on the residence of an investigative journalist, Edward Adeti, in 2019 in Bolgatanga by an unknown gang following the resignation of Rockson Ayine Bukari from government as a Minister of State at the Presidency.
Bukari had sought to kill an investigative story initiated by Adeti who had uncovered a scandal involving a High Court judge, Justice Jacob Bawine Boon, and Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, a Talensi-based Chinese firm now known as Earl International Group (Ghana) Gold Limited.
Shaanxi was having a case with Cassius, an Australian mining company, before Justice Boon at the time of Adeti’s investigation. Adeti caught officials of Shaanxi in several private meetings with Justice Boon.