President Akufo-Addo has charged two newly appointed Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana to do everything within their mandate to strengthen the development of the country’s constitutional and other jurisprudence.
Addressing the two new judges, Justice George Kingsley Koomson and Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, as well as attendees of the swearing-in ceremony at the banquet hall of the Jubilee House after administering the judicial oath, oath of secrecy, and allegiance to them on Tuesday 4 April 2023, President Akufo-Addo said since 1966, the Apex Court of the land has been on a path of progress and new appointees to the bench must ensure that the development continues.
“The post-1966 Supreme Court has developed a positive reputation for the quality of its constitutional jurisprudence and I am hopeful that you who have already given good accounts of yourselves in high judicial office in the Court of Appeal and the High Court, will help strengthen the development of nation’s constitutional and other jurisprudence in the Supreme Court,” President Akufo-Addo said.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Supreme Court occupies a sacred and unique place in the policy-making space of the country. The decisions of the Court he indicated, have a direct implication on the socio-economic development of the nation and to this end, Justices of the Supreme Court must be mindful of this important role as they write and deliver judgments on the cases that come before them.
“Article 129 positions the Supreme Court as the policy Court where far-reaching decisions on our socio-economic development are fashioned in response to the exigencies of the times.
“The perspectives of its judges are thus critical for our national development, especially in these challenging times” President Akufo-Addo pointed out.
Pledge to uphold constitution
In his response to the charge of the President on his and on the behalf of his colleague, Justice George Kingsley Koomson, registered their appreciation to the president, to Parliament, the Council of State, and the Judicial Council for their nomination, approval, and appointment.
“As Justices of the Apex Court, we pledge to uphold the constitution of our nation and to assure you, your excellency, and the people of Ghana that we will continue to serve in dignity, respect, and in honesty,” Justice George Kingsley Koomson said.
“That we shall always protect the fundamental human rights of our people. We are committed to serving with professionalism and impartiality” he added.
Parliament on Friday 24 March 2023, approved by a majority vote, the nominations of Justice George Kingsley Koomson and Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court.
President Akufo-Addo, in a letter dated 26 July 2022 and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, per Article 144(2) of the constitution, announced the nomination of Justices Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu, George Kingsley Koomson, Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu and Ernest Yao Gaewu for the high office of Justice of the Supreme Court.
By this letter, the president also sought legislative approval for his nominees to the Supreme Court.
The president explained that the appointments had become necessary because of pending and projected vacancies on the Supreme Court bench before the end of 2022.
The appointments committee of Parliament, in its 27th report on the president’s nominees for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court, recommended by consensus the nominations of Justice Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu and Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu.
These recommendations were subsequently adopted by the plenary after the appointments committee’s report was laid.
Justices George Kingsley Koomson and Ernest Yao Gaewu, on the other hand, had their nominations approved by a majority decision of the appointments committee, making their final approval subject to agreement by the whole House, either by consensus or by secret ballot.
Parliament after choosing to ballot on the approval of two judges used nearly two hours for the exercise. When the results were tallied, one hundred and thirty-nine MPs voted “Yes” to approve the nomination of Justice George Kingsley Koomson and 133 voted “No”.
Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu on the other hand, secured 138 “Yes” votes against 134 “No” votes.
The Supreme Court is the highest-ranking institution in Ghana’s judicial administrative system. The court is presided over by the Chief Justice; in his/her absence, the most senior of the justices of the Supreme Court as constituted presides.
Members of the judiciary who sit in the Supreme Court are referred to as justices of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice and no fewer than nine justices.
It has exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of the 1992 constitution. It also has supervisory jurisdiction over all the courts in Ghana.
The Supreme Court is located only at the Judicial Service headquarters in Accra.
Justices of the Court
There are 14 Supreme Court justices, according to the most recent listing on the website of the Judicial Service of Ghana (www.judicial.gov.gh). The approval of Justices George Kingsley Koomson and Ernest Yao Gaewu will bring the number to 16.
The Justices of the Supreme Court include His Lordship Justice Anin-Yeboah (the Chief Justice), His Lordship Justice Jones Dotse, His Lordship Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie, His Lordship Justice Gabriel Pwamang, His Lordship Justice Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher, His Lordship Justice Professor Nii Ashie Kotey and Her Ladyship Justice Mariama Owusu.
The other judges are Her Ladyship Justice Avril Lovelace Johnson, Her Ladyship Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, His Lordship Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, Her Ladyship Justice Professor Henrietta Joy Abena Nyarko Mensa-Bonsu, His Lordship Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, Her Ladyship Justice Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu, and His Lordship Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu.
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