The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has opined that a corrupt judge is a danger to public interest and judicial administration.
He has thus urged ten new Justices of the High Court he sworn into office yesterday at Jubilee House to exhibit honesty, integrity and a sound knowledge of the law.
“A corrupt or incompetent judge is a danger to the public interest and judicial administration. The situation, where judges proffer judgements on the basis of decisions from lower courts, and cite them as law, is not acceptable, and even less so, when judges cite no authority at all for their rulings, and give orders without reasons,” he reiterated.
The President further told the Justices to be learned, know their case law, and ensure their decisions and judgements were properly motivated.
He cited the ancient common law doctrine of precedent, the principle of stare decisis, saying it has been, and continues to be the time-honoured foundation for the coherent development of the law, and should not be lightly discarded.
The President said of the ten Justices that they were eminently fit and qualified for the position of High Court Justices, “and have the impartiality of mind and independence of spirit necessary to hold this high office.”
The President led the Justices to swear three oaths, and during his remarks, congratulated all of them for their well-deserved appointments.
This is the fifth time President Akufo-Addo has sworn in Justices of the High Court since assuming office as the President of the Republic.
In his address, the President said 60 district courts, 60 bungalows for judges, and three new high courts for three of the six newly-created regions would be commissioned before the start of the legal year in October this year.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the government, through the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund, was constructing 100 new courts and bungalows for judges in all 16 Regions of the country.
They are broken down in the various regions as follows – 20 courts and 20 bungalows in Ashanti; 12 courts and12 bungalows in Eastern; eight courts and eight bungalows in Greater Accra; eight courts and eight bungalows in Volta; eight courts and eight bungalows in Ahafo; seven courts and seven bungalows in Western; and five courts and five bungalows in Bono East.
The rest are five courts and five bungalows in North East; four courts and four bungalows in Oti; four courts and four bungalows in Western North; four courts and four bungalows in Central; four courts and four bungalows in Bono; three courts and three bungalows in Northern; three courts and three bungalows in Savannah; three courts and three bungalows in Upper East; and two courts and two bungalows in Upper West.
He continued, “Six new Regional High Courts are also being constructed in the newly created regions, i.e., Ahafo, Bono East, North East, Oti, Savannah and Western North. Three of the Courts, that is those in Ahafo, Bono East and Oti Regions, will be completed and ready for commissioning, again, before October. The other three, that is those in North East, Savannah and Western North, which are at eighty percent (80%) completion, will be ready for commissioning by the end of the first quarter of 2023.”
He remarked that these, initiatives and other are being undertaken by Government to strengthen the capacity of the Judiciary.
HIGH COURT JUDGES
The newly-appointed Justices of the High Court are in two categories, first are Ebenezer Osei-Darko, Bernard Bentil, Alexander Graham, and Mercy Adei Kotei, who were all Circuit Court judges who have been elevated to the Superior Court of Judicature.
The remaining are Mr. George Kwame Gyan-Kontoh, Mr. Richard Apietu, Mr. Eric Ansah Ankomah, Mrs. Cynthia Martinson, Dr. Mrs. Bridget Kafui Antonio-Apedzi and Ms. Nabeela Naeema Wahab, all of whom were in private practice as lawyers and have now joined the bench.
Responding to the President’s remarks on behalf of her other colleagues, Justice Mercy Adei Kotei thanked the President for the elevation, saying that the President had “been kind enough.”
She promised that they “will remain true to their oath and discharge our duties with diligence.”