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Anin Yeboah has been an exceptional Chief Justice says President Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo said the tenure of the Chief Justice has been characterized by exceptional achievements that must be emulated by others

President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has eulogized the outgoing Chief Justice (CJ), His Lordship, Justice Anin Yeboah, describing him as an exceptional head of the third arm of government, the Judiciary.

Speaking at a farewell dinner organized by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in honour of the Chief Justice at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Friday (19 May 2023), President Akufo-Addo said the tenure of Chief Justice Anin Yeboah has been characterized by exceptional achievements which he hopes his successors will build on.

“It is important for the spirit of our country that we recognize and acknowledge exceptional service to our nation, and that is what Chief Justice Kwesi Anin Yeboah has rendered to the Ghanaian nation and people.

“The 14th Chief Justice in our nation’s independent history and the 2nd appointed within my term of office, his has been an outstanding career that has seen him rise to its greatest heights in his later years,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“Within this time, he has been an effective leader of the Judiciary. He has guarded jealously its independence, and by his conduct and comportment, he has brought honour to the judiciary and to our country,” Akufo-Addo added.

Time for everything

Ghana Bar Association President, Yaw Acheampong Boafo, in his remarks, paid glowing tribute to Chief Justice Anin Yeboah for what he says was his unwavering support for the Ghana Bar Association during his term in office.

Relying on the scripture reference in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and 11 (KJV), which says;

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them;

“A time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace, and He [the Lord] has made everything beautiful in its time”;

Yaw Acheampong Boafo said, “The time of the beginning of the momentous journey in the legal profession of Justice Anin Yeboah was on 20 November 1981; the time for his elevation onto the Bench was in 2002; the time for his investiture as Chief Justice was on 7 January, 2020; and 24 May 2023 will be the time for him to exit from his office and role.

“This evening is the time for the GBA to formally bid him farewell. Without any smidgen of doubt, we can say God has made his time to be exceptionally beautiful and remarkable.

“If there ever was a Chief Justice who the Bar can claim ‘ownership’ thereof, it is certainly Justice Anin Yeboah, since his judicial destiny is clearly interwoven in the tapestry of diligent and outstanding service to the Ghana Bar,” Mr Acheampong Boafo said.

Outstanding BAR member

The Bar president in his address, went on to eulogize the outgoing Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, “In the chronicles of the Ghana Bar Association, so is it written; that Anin Yeboah, President of the Eastern Regional Bar was unable to attend a meeting of the General Council of the Ghana Bar Association, and in his absence, the Bar Council under the Presidency of Paul Adu Gyamfi decided to nominate him for consideration to the Court of Appeal Bench”.

“He [Justice Anin Yeboah] was asked by the Bar President to submit his CV. He never voluntarily applied to join the Bench. He did not say no because of his intense fidelity to the cause of the Ghana Bar Association and for the improvement in the delivery of justice in this country.

“However, there was a twist to this tale: His Lordship Edward Kwame Wiredu CJ decided rather to consider him for the High Court Bench and promised to have him promoted to the Court of Appeal if he excelled. He was promoted to the Court of Appeal after only one legal year!

“In a few days’ time, he retires as Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana. To say he has been a worthy and exemplary ambassador of the Ghana Bar Association would be an understatement. He has brought honour to the GBA and repaid the confidence reposed in him by his unusual nomination by the Bar. That is why it would have been a travesty of justice if the Bar did not bid him farewell properly.

“This evening is a time for merrymaking and by reason of same, a ponderous speech will be an unwelcome guest, and I do not intend to get myself in trouble. I will thus not attempt to list the numerous achievements of His Lordship Anin Yeboah, except to say that his tenure on the Bench and as Chief Justice has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“Hopefully, in subsequent years the Oxford Dictionary of Modern English will have a new addition: Anin Yeboah; as an adjective for one who is a competent, fair and firm, scholarly, diligent, humble, and hardworking judge!

“He [Justice Anin Yeboah] has been associated with some of the landmark decisions from the Supreme Court that enriched our jurisprudence, shaped and influenced reforms in governance and educated many. In all his decisions, he has exhibited remarkable knowledge and application of the law.

“It will be remiss on my part, not to mention the massive infrastructural development witnessed during his tenure as Chief Justice. The late business magnate and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, once said that “quality is more important than quantity”.

“In his relatively short tenure as CJ, new and more modern court buildings have been erected and commissioned than in any other administration; ensuring that judges and Magistrates, court staff, lawyers, litigants can deliver and access justice in more congenial environments, thereby making the dream of accessible justice as a fundamental human right a reality.

“It is usually said that a person’s real character emerges when he or she makes a lot of money or is appointed to a high office or given power, but if that was a rule, CJ Anin Yeboah has gone against the grain. Our Chief Justice has remained modest, humble, decent, and humane during his tenure.

“Suffice it so say that, he saw his position as a service to this nation and its people and not to lord it over others or even as a means to ride roughshod over others. It is a lesson all of us who had the opportunity to observe him in close quarters will imbibe,” the Bar President Yaw Acheampong Boafo said.

Profound nostalgia

On a personal note, Mr Acheampong Boafo remembered “with profound nostalgia the first day [his] paths crossed with [Justice Anin Yeboah] in 1996 at the Koforidua District Court in what was rightfully [his] nascent days at the Bar.

“I particularly remember vividly an equally profound statement that His Lordship made to me which I will remember for the rest of my life: “Yaw, I am going to raise an objection in this case so that you learn”.

“Indeed, I really did learn that day in court! It was an extremely enriching experience for me as I navigated my way through my early years of legal practice as a young lawyer at the Bar.

“The CJ afterwards took me to lunch and from our conversations, it turned out that my brother-in-law, Kwabena Boakye-Antwi, of Eastern Chemists fame, who is here with us today, was like a brother to him. We have remained close since then” Mr Boafo noted.

Courtesies to Bar

The courtesies accorded the Bar during the tenure of the CJ, according Mr Boafo, was “unrivalled”. Justice Anin Yeboah, he said, “has been supportive of the Bar and has readily granted us audience in discussing and dealing with pressing issues affecting the profession and legal education. In the Bar, he saw a significant stakeholder and ally.

“I do not intend to engage in a hagiography by any means this evening. The CJ is human and fallible after all; not least, his support of Accra Hearts of Oak and even with that, in his retirement, we hope he experiences an epiphany or a ‘road to Damascus’ moment and join the ‘Porcupine Warrior’ family where he will be gladly welcomed.

“His Lordship, Anin Yeboah, you shall surely be missed by the Ghana Bar Association. However, there is a popular request that has been sent through us to be delivered to you. When it became glaringly obvious that your retirement from the Bench was imminent, it happened that a young lawyer exclaimed: “so Anin Yeboah is going away with all that Civil Procedure?” the BAR president remarked.

“As hilarious as it may seem, it only underscored your rich legacy and place amongst the pantheons of Civil Procedure and Practice in the history of legal practice in this country. Ace Anan Ankomah, in an article published on myjoyonline.com dated 3rd September, 2013, wrote amongst others as follows to illustrate the unparalleled prowess of the Honourable Chief Justice in Civil Procedure;

“I trust my Procedure, but if there is one person who can whip me in Procedure (with his right hand tied to his back), it is the man I call “Mr. Procedure” or “His Lordship AY”.

“My Lord, if you intend to retire peacefully in your holy village of Toase, please be reminded that you will be called upon unendingly to continually impart knowledge unto generations of law students and lawyers; for you are a real gem, a quintessential repository of the law,” the BAR President further stated.

“His Lordship Anin Yeboah, we shall all miss you. If it were possible, we would have had the Constitution amended to have your tenure extended till when you attain the age of 100! Alas, it is beyond our control! The wishes of the framers of the Constitution will be respected.

“When time comes for me to exit from office as National President sometime next year, I can definitely count as one of the proudest moments of my Presidency as having the honour to be the National President who presided over proceedings of the GBA to bid farewell to the colossus, that is Anin Yeboah. It has been real privilege to have known and dealt with a very good human being like you. As would be said in the Twi language, “WO Y3 NNIPA AMPA!”.

“Let me conclude by once again, and on behalf of Council and members of the Ghana Bar Association, express our heartfelt gratitude to Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, for his invaluable contribution and pristine dedication to the Judiciary and legal practice in this country for all these years.

“I surmise, just as a judgment creditor is entitled to the fruits of his victory, so are you entitled to the fruits of your labour and service to this nation. Indeed, there is time for everything under the sun!

“We believe it is a well-earned retirement, and we can only wish you a very peaceful, healthy, and fulfilling retirement. May God bless you. Thank you very much for your attention and may God equally bless us all,” the BAR president further acclaimed the outgoing Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah.

Citation to the CJ

The BAR Association also presented Justice Anin Yeboah with a citation. The citation read in part; “As a Judge, you distinguished yourself. You discharged your duties with dedication, honesty and a sense of justice. You have through your various decisions contributed immensely to the strengthening of the democratic enterprise under the 1992 Constitution.

“Your judgments have been a powerful source of reference for the Bar and Bench and your contribution to the strengthening of our democratic system is beyond dispute. During your tenure as Chief Justice, you embarked on an unprecedented infrastructural enhancement project to increase the number of courtrooms across the country and provide accommodation for judges.

“You engaged the District Assemblies Common Fund to undertake the nationwide construction of l00 Courthouses and Bungalows for Judges/ Magistrates; and the construction of the 20-unit Court of Appeal Residential Complex in Kumasi. As of May 2023, 49 new courthouses and bungalows and the Court of Appeal Residential Complex had been inaugurated.

“As a former Council Member, the Ghana Bar Association was assured of audience any time there were pressing matters affecting the Bar and administration of justice and you took immediate steps to ensure the concerns of the Bar were addressed at all times. You not only served the Bench and Bar well; You took your knowledge of practice and procedure to the classroom to ensure that the next generation of lawyers had the best foundation.

“You did not limit your exploits to the practice of the law, you were also an avid football fan and served in various positions within the Ghana Football Association, the Confederation of African Football and the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) where you were appointed to the high office of the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, a position you held until your nomination as Chief Justice.

“His Lordship Justice Anin Yeboah, Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana Bar Association appreciates your service and contribution to the advancement of the legal profession and on the occasion of your retirement from the Judiciary, 42 years after being called to the Bar, the Ghana Bar Association is privileged to confer on you the Meritorious Honour of Outstanding Performance, Commitment to the cause and Administration of Justice, Devotion to the Legal Profession and Patriotism.”

CJ’s Gratitude

After receiving the citation, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah registered his appreciation to the BAR Association for honouring his in the manner they have. He thanked the BAR for nominating him to be appointed to the Bench in 2002 after his several years of private practice at the BAR.

He also singled out for mention, former Chief Justice Georgina T. Wood, for teaching him judicial administration during her tenure as Chief Justice. To one lawyer Yaw Barimah, who the outgoing Chief Justice referred to as his senior, Justice Anin Yeboah thanked him for his guidance during the very formative years of his career as a lawyer.

Again, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah told the gathering that during his term as Chief Justice, he had a lot of cooperation from his colleague Justices of the Supreme Court, for which he was grateful.

To President Akufo-Addo, in whose tenure he was nominated and appointed Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah expressed his appreciation to the President for appointing him and for the support of the Executive cumulating in the several infrastructure achievements associated with his tenure as Chief Justice.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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