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Help build a judiciary that commands the respect of Ghanaians – Akufo-Addo to Supreme Court judges

President Akufo-Addo said the surest way for the judicial to earn the adoration of citizens is by making quality and informed decisions

President Akufo-Addo has charged three newly sworn-in Justices of the Supreme Court to do everything within their powers and mandate to contribute to the building of a judiciary that will command the respect of the Ghanaian people.

Addressing the three new Supreme Court justices after administering the judicial oath as well as oaths of secrecy and allegiance to them at the Banquet Hall of Jubilee House in Accra today (3 January 2024), President Akufo-Addo said the surest way for the judicial arm of government to earn the adoration of citizens is by making quality and informed decisions.

“To our new Supreme Court judges, 1. Justice Henry Anthony Kowfie, Justice Yaw Asare Darko, and Justice Richard Agyei Frimpong, it is extremely important for you to bear in mind that the growth of our nation demands that we have a judiciary that commands the respect of the people by the quality of the delivery of justice as well as the comportment of its judges.

“Applications of the laws of the land must occur in the words of the judicial oath that you have just taken, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will – and, therefore, without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any citizen of the land or any person before you,” President Akufo-Addo observed.

“When a person falls foul of the law, society demands that the person be dealt with accordingly, and law-enforcement agencies, including the Supreme Court, must ensure that this is done.

“That is the true meaning of the concept of equality before the law and I am confident that you will uphold it and distinguish yourselves in the work of the court,” the president said.

Supreme Court vacancies

President Akufo-Addo noted that new judges have been appointed to fill the vacancies in the judiciary created by the statutory retirement of three Justices of the Supreme Court from the bench. They are their Lordships Justice Anin Yeboah (the Chief Justice), Justice Jones Dotse, and Justice Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher.

Justice Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher retired on 3 February 2023, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah on the other hand retired on 24 May 2023 and Justice Jones Dotse left the bench on 8 June 2023.

Prime obligation

Responding to the charge of the President, Justice Henry Anthony Kowfie, on behalf of Justice Yaw Asare Darko, and Justice Richard expressed their appreciation to the president, the Council of State, Parliament, the Judicial Council, the Chief Justice, and the Ghana Bar Association for the trust reposed in them by appointing them to the seniormost ranks of the judiciary.

“We consider it our prime obligation to work towards confronting the challenges to help build the rule of law and the democratic culture we have set for ourselves as a people. The oaths we have subscribed to today will keep serving as our guidepost through all the changing scenes of our lives in the apex court” Justice Henry Anthony Kowfie said.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest in the administration of justice in Ghana. 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 called 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. It is located only at the Judicial Service headquarters in Accra.

Justices of the court

There are 12 Supreme Court justices, according to the most recent listing on the website of the Judicial Service of Ghana (www.judicial.gov.gh). The newly sworn-in judges bring that number to 15.

The justices of the Supreme Court include Her Ladyship Justice Gertrude Torkornoo (Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie, His Lordship Justice Gabriel Pwamang, Her Ladyship Justice Mariama Owusu and Her Ladyship Justice Avril Lovelace Johnson.

The other Justices are, 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, His Lordship Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu, His Lordship Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu and His Lordship Justice George Kingsley Koomson.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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