Ghana: Justice Torkornoo Approved As CJ ...Unanimously By Parliament

Parliament has adopted the report of the Appointments Committee and approved by consensus the nomination of Mrs Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo as the Chief Justice of Ghana.

The Minority, which earlier held their approval of the nomination on Tuesday, gave their blessing after procuring the Supreme Court's reasoned judgement in the matter, which saw the annulment of James Gyakye Quayson's election as NDC MP for the Assin North Constituency.

Moving the motion for Justice Torkornoo's approval on the floor of Parliament, in Accra yesterday, Chairman of the Committee and First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, said the nominee demonstrated vast knowledge of the law, its application and should be given the needed legislative approval.

"The nominee showed character, competence and dexterity in the knowledge of the law. She pledged to interpret the law without fear or favour if approved as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana and should be approved," Mr Osei-Owusu who is also the MP for Bekwai prayed the plenary.

Seconding the motion, the Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Ranking on the Committee, Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, said though the experience of the nominee could not be questioned, some of her reasoning was problematic.

For example, he said the unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court panel, which included Justice Torkornoo that the birth certificate could not be used to establish nationality needed to be relooked at.

In Mr Agbodza's view, that decision is the "biggest miscarriage of justice on Ghanaians and this must not be allowed to stay."

Mr Agbodza, who is also the MP for Adaklu was, however, comforted by the readiness of the nominee to have a discussion on the need to have a law on contempt of court and hoped Mrs Torkornoo would leave a legacy that would be worth emulating by successors.

Member for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, said citizenship is a constitutional matter and whoever feels dissatisfied by the apex court's decision should seek redress.

To him, the nominee represents the "power of womanhood," a power which has been showcased in recent times by the appointments of former Chief Justices Georgina Theodora Wood and Sophia Akuffo.

Mr Atta Akyea said it was time the intellectual capacity of women was utilised rather than their bodies as he expressed the hope that with about 10 years for the nominee to be Chief Justice, she would change the face of the Ghanaian judiciary.

Tamale South Member, Haruna Iddrisu, urged Justice Torkornoo to "go and administer justice without fear or favour and without political interference."

According to Mr Iddrisu, judges must be influenced only by the law and in doing so they must consider the environment in which those decisions are made.

He was also worried about the speed with which decisions in some matters of political nature are dealt with and the lackadaisical approach to some.

Mr Iddrisu cited the swift nature in which the apex court dispensed on their rejection of the 2022 budget and the cold feet towards their case in relation to the passage of the controversial electronic transfer levy.

Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and MP for Asante Akim Central, Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, praying his colleagues to back the nomination, said casting a slur on decisions of the court does the judiciary no good.

He said in disagreement, aggrieved parties should seek the face of the Court and be consistent with their appreciation of court decisions whether or not a decision went their favour.


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