Before the Judicial Council delegation took leave of the Tongraan’s palace on Monday, 26 June 2023, a bull was offered to the visitors as a gift.
“Your coming here is something that has made all of us very happy. We should have received you in a better way than what we have done now. Maybe, a very big party so that…
“In the absence of that, I’ve asked permission from my elders, divisional chiefs, to give you a bull. That bull will be available for your collection as you request at any time. I want to assure you that this is not the anthrax type,” said the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang.
Days later, the Chief of Tindongo, Naab Tampelgsong Kun Gaadzom, who is an authority on the Talensi Traditional Council, told Media Without Borders in a recorded interview on Thursday, 29 June 2023, that the Judicial Council took the bull away.
These are his words:
“Normally, you arrange for a vehicle to come and take it (the bull) away. But since he (Justice Pwamang) is a native, from Navrongo. I mean the one who led the delegation is from Navrongo. He could have sent it to the house so that they would kill it and share the meat. That is all.
“They (the Judicial Council) have taken it (the bull). This Supreme Court judge (Justice Pwamang) who came said there was nothing wrong with Tongraan asking the judge (Justice Alexander Graham) to come to his house so that he would brief him about some land disputes in his traditional area.”
On Friday, 30 June, 2023, Media Without Borders contacted Justice Gabriel Pwamang, the Supreme Court judge who led the Judicial Council delegation to the palace.
“The bull was offered publicly to the delegation and not to me personally.”
Then, on Monday, 3 July 2023, came a letter written to Media Without Borders by the Management of the Judicial Service of Ghana saying:
“The Judicial Service has not taken any steps to accept the gracious offer of His Majesty, the Tong-Rana. We, therefore, clarify that the delegation returned to Accra without any bull as alleged.”
However, Media Without Borders asked two questions immediately after the Judicial Service’s Deputy Director of Communications, Rosemary M. Gaisie, delivered the letter. The questions were:
“Was the bull rejected by the Judicial Council delegation? And if it was rejected, why was it rejected?”
These questions have not been answered to this day. It has been almost two weeks since the questions were asked on July 3, 2023.
And because there is a conflict of answers from the Judicial Council and the Talensi Traditional Council on the ‘Forbidden Favour’, there is also one question several members of the public are asking today:
“Then, where is the bull?”
Media Without Borders is only doing what is expected of the press— to probe and to hold accountable— in line with international standards and in conformity with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which says, in Chapter 12 Article 162 Section 5, that:
“All agencies of the mass media shall, at all times, be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of this Constitution, and shall uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of Ghana.”
Ghana’s Code of Conduct for Judges and Magistrates forbids members of the bench from accepting gifts from parties who have, or are likely to have, a case before them.
The Rule 5 of the code says: “Neither judges nor members of their families residing in their households shall accept a substantial GIFT, bequest, favour, or loan from anyone.”
Section 5 (c) of Rule 5 states that: “Judges or members of their families residing in their households may accept any other gifts, bequests, favour, or loan only if the donor is not a party or other person whose interests have come or are likely to come before the judge.”
Two judges were part of the delegation that visited the paramount chief, the other being Justice Aboagye Tandoh, a High Court judge. And their host, who offered the ‘missing gift’, is currently a plaintiff in a number of lawsuits. One of the court cases involving the paramount chief is only one step away from the Supreme Court.
The Judicial Service says the Judicial Council did not go to Accra with the bull. A Talensi Traditional Council authority says the Judicial Council went to Accra with the bull. The bull is ‘missing’ somewhere. So, the question is: Where is the bull?
Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org