Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I refused to become a judge because of my lifestyle – Ace Ankomah

Ace Ankomah Lawyer
Respected legal practitioner Ace Ankomah has revealed that he turned down a request to become a judge because of his unwillingness to deprive himself of good life.

According to him, a former Chief Justice of Ghana Justice, George Acquah (late) offered him an opportunity to serve on the bench but he turned it down.

In a Facebook post, Mr. Ankomah said his love for fast cars and the desire to give his family a good life informed his decision to turn down the offer 10 years ago.

“I went to see CJ Acquah again and politely declined the offer. He asked for my reasons, and I gave him many rehearsed answers, the silliest being that I thought the position would restrict me, since I still loved playing music with bands. When pressed further, I told the simple truth, and in Fante: "My Lord, mé gye bribe," translated, "My Lord, I will take bribes."

“He burst out laughing. But I explained that I had spent so much time building a private legal career, which was just about bearing fruit. I also had young children whom I had very great plans for. If I left private practice and became a judge, I would always look back and wonder and regret. I would be unhappy. I would still want to drive fast cars (yes, that's my weakness, still). And if the pay was not sufficient to sustain that lifestyle, I would find myself taking bribes," he wrote.

Below are full details of the post

It was about 10 years ago, if I am not mistaken. I had stopped teaching at Legon for about 2 years. I received a call from the office of the late CJ Acquah, to come in and see him.

Not knowing what was up, I simply went. He had very kind words to say about me and my work, and then he said he was going to submit my name as one of the judges for the Commercial Courts, which was then being set up. CJ Acquah was blunt to a fault. He said that if I worked hard, I could make it to the Court of Appeal in a couple of years and that in about a decade I could be on the Supreme Court bench. He said that with my age (probably 37 at the time), only the sky could be my limit, once I made it that far.

Right there and then, I knew my answer. But to be polite, I asked for a little time to think about it. And, although I knew what my answer would be, i did give it a thought. I spoke with my senior partners in the firm, my family, very close friends and my pastors.

On the set date, I went to see CJ Acquah again and politely declined the offer. He asked for my reasons, and I gave him many rehearsed answers, the silliest being that I thought the position would restrict me, since I still loved playing music with bands. When pressed further, I told the simple truth, and in Fante: "My Lord, mé gye bribe," translated, "My Lord, I will take bribes."

He burst out laughing. But I explained that I had spent so much time building a private legal career, which was just about bearing fruit. I also had young children whom I had very great plans for. If I left private practice and became a judge, I would always look back and wonder and regret. I would be unhappy. I would still want to drive fast cars (yes, that's my weakness, still). And if the pay was not sufficient to sustain that lifestyle, I would find myself taking bribes.

To CJ Acquah's credit, he did not try to convince me any further. He let me go, although, subsequently, he and Mr. Kwaku Ansa-Asare dragged me kicking and screaming to become a senior lecturer at the law school. But that's another story.

Why am I saying this? I am wondering where I would be today, if I had gone to the Bench. Would I have worked hard and made it to the Court of Appeal or even Supreme Court by now? Probably Court of Appeal. Would I have become a bribe-taking judge? Do you want an honest answer to that? I think..., I might, or might not, or might, or might not. Would Anas have filmed me by now? Probably. Or not. Possibly. Or not. But if he had, you, yes, you, the one reading this would be saying, "Ei, Ace, we thought he went to church. But we always knew that there was something dodgy about him." Yes, you!!

I am no angel. I like good things, and I hope to get good things even in the afterlife as well, God being my helper. But as I look at This Anas Sting story unfold, I look back at the honest answer that I gave to CJ Acquah, and I am glad I did that. But I am sad, very sad, and I keep having flashes of what I saw in the Anas films, and I keep saying, "THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME."

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