Judicial Cattle Grid
A story from Ghana

Jojo* and his brothers believed they stood to inherit their father’s cattle, so when he died they took the 27 cows from his land. It later transpired, however, that their uncle was the true legal benefactor. He contacted the police, accusing Jojo and his brothers of stealing his inheritance. The men were promptly arrested and taken to court. The brothers claim that the judge presiding over their case demanded they pay €360 to secure bail, and threatened to find them guilty unless they transferred an additional €400 into his personal bank account. According to UN figures, the average annual income in Ghana is €490. The brothers say that they managed to pull the money together with difficulty and made the payment. While awaiting trial, however, Jojo approached Transparency International (TI) Ghana to explain the situation. TI Ghana wrote to the Director of Judicial Services in Accra, and was told that the judge would be investigated by the Chief Justice. TI Ghana has since learned that the magistrate has been cleared of all allegations and that Jojo and his brothers have not been reimbursed the money they claim to have paid the judge. They were, however, acquitted, and their story prompted two people with similar cases to approach TI Ghana. TI Ghana hopes that these cases will act as a warning to Ghana’s judiciary that their actions will be monitored and that suspected misconduct will not go unchallenged. *Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved. Transparency International provides free advice and legal support to victims and witnesses of corruption in almost 50 countries around the world. To date, more than 95,000 people have sought help.

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