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Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Nana Adjoa Hackman, 90 others sworn in as notaries public

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Nana Adjoa Hackman, Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah and other members of the class of 2003 who where part of the notaries public sworn in at the ceremony

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko senior partner and Nana Adjoa Hackman, managing partners of Africa Legal Associates (ALA), together with 90 other lawyers in private practice, have been sworn in as notaries public of the Republic of Ghana.

Nii Odoi Odotei, a partner at ALA, Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, the executive secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), wife of Professor Attafuah, Mrs Joyce Agyemang Attafuah, Ralph Poku-Adusei, the managing partner at Trent Legal Amansie Chambers, and the retired Commissioner of Police (COP) Kofi Boakye were also among lawyers in private practice in Ghana who were sworn in as notaries public.

A notary public is a person authorised by the state to satisfy the responsibility, among other functions, of administering oaths, certifying documents, attesting to the authenticity of signatures and performing official acts in commercial matters, such as protecting negotiable instruments.

Under the Notaries Public Act 1960 (Act 26), only a lawyer of high moral character and proven integrity, who is of not less than ten years’ standing as a lawyer, can be appointed as a notary public.

Charge to be diligent

On Monday 15 May 2023, Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, acting under the Notaries Public Act 1960 (Act 26), which empowers the Chief Justice to appoint to be a notary public any person whom he considers fit and proper to discharge the duties assigned to that office by law or by practice of commerce, administered the oaths of office to all 92 notaries public at the Supreme Court building.

Right to left: Nana Adjoa Hackman, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Professor Kenneth Attafuah and COP (rtd) Kofi Boakye, new notaries public

After taking the oath of office, the 92 new notaries were presented with certificates of enrolment under the seal of the Supreme Court.

The 92 lawyers, who have more than ten years’ experience at the Bar, according to the Chief Justice, have duly been cleared of any ethical infractions by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the General Legal Council (GLC), and are therefore fit to perform the functions of a notary.

The Chief Justice charged the newly appointed notaries public to use their position to perform their duties with diligence and care, in compliance with the Notaries Act.

Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, the executive secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), and his wife Mrs Joyce Agyemang Attafuah, after the swearing in ceremony

He further entreated them to apply their years of experience at the Bar to their new role to execute their duties faithfully and in accordance with the act.

Important function

The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in a brief statement before the Chief Justice administered the oath, observed that the functions of a notary public, which are clearly spelled out in law, make them an important component in the justice delivery system.

According to Dame, a notary public is an officer of the law whose public office and duty it is to draw, attest or certify under his or her official seal, deeds and other documents, including wills or other testamentary documents, conveyances of real and personal property, powers of attorney, licences, contracts, loan documents and trusts.

Nana Adjoa Hackman (right) and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko (second right) with Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah (second left) and COP (rtd) Kofi Boakye (first left), all notaries public, after the swearing-in ceremony


A notary public is authorised to “authenticate such documents under his signature and official seal in such a manner as to render them acceptable, as proof of the matters attested by him, to the judicial or other public authorities in the country where they are to be used, whether by means of issuing a notarial certificate as to the due execution of such documents or by drawing them in the form of public instruments; to keep a protocol containing originals of all instruments which he makes in the public form and to issue authentic copies of such instruments; and, finally, to administer oaths and declarations for use in proceedings”.

“Newly sworn-in notaries public, by virtue of your functions, you must be instruments in the deterrence and detection of fraud in this Republic,” said the Attorney General.

“This is because notaries witness the signing of documents of huge moment and verify the identity of the signatories, their willingness to sign the documents, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction.

“Thus, a notary public who acts in accordance with due process and with diligence helps to deter fraud. Indeed, notaries public offer a legal service that impacts many other institutions. It goes without saying that, being trained solicitors and barristers, you must know the relevant law applicable in the jurisdiction to the particular subject matter of the transaction in issue,” Dame said.

Gabby Otchere-Darko with Ralph Poku-Adusei, also a new notary public, after the swearing-in

“A deviation from such laws can result in the imposition of penalties allowed by the rules regulating the legal profession,” the Attorney General said.

“Notaries public must therefore take their signatures and instrument of attestation very seriously and not abuse same by making a false verification of the authenticity of the information on paper.”

New Notaries Public Bill

In order to strengthen the legal regime under which notaries perform their functions and make them more responsive to modern circumstances, Godfred Dame hinted that “a new Notaries Public Bill has been submitted by the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to cabinet for consideration and approval before its introduction in Parliament”.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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