Parliament approves nominations to Supreme Court

Parliament on Wednesday unanimously and by consensus, approved the nomination of two persons nominated by the President to fill vacancies at the Supreme Court.

They are Mr Anthony Alfred Benin and Mr Joseph Bawah Akamba, all justices of the Appeals Court.

Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, and Vice Chairman of the Appointments Committee said both judges had met the requirements of the 1992 Constitution and had acquitted themselves creditably at the vetting.

President John Dramani Mahama in accordance with Article 144 (2) of the 1992 Constitution on the advice of the Judicial Council and in consultation with the Council of State nominated the two on October 24.

Until their nominations, the two were the most senior judges at the Appeals Court. Their approval will increase the number of judges at the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice Georgina Wood, from 12 to 14.

Mr Benin was born at Kumasi on January 4, 1950 and was awarded a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Ghana in 1973. He was called to the bar in 1975.

He was appointed an Assistant State Attorney in 1976 and later joined the Judiciary as a District Magistrate Grade two in 1979, rising through the ranks to become an Appeal Court Judge in 1994.

Justice Benin was in 2001 appointed to the West African Regional Court as a pioneer judge. He was the Vice President of the Court from 2007 to 2009.

He left the ECOWAS Community Court in 2011.

Also born in Kumasi in 1946, Justice Akamba obtained a Law Degree from the University of Ghana in 1972 and was called to the Bar in 1974.

He also worked with the Attorney-General’s Office as an Assistant State Attorney from 1977 to 1984, and joined the Judiciary as a District Magistrate in 1984 and was later appointed a Circuit Judge in 1989, rising to a Justice of the High Court.

Mr Akamba left Ghana and worked as the Director of Public prosecutions in the Gambia from 1994 to 1999 and was later promoted as a justice of that country’s Court of Appeal from 1999 to 2001.

He returned to Ghana and was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal. He was also the Acting Director of the Judicial Training School from 2008 to 2011.

Both sides of the House affirmed that both Justices deserved the appointments and that their nominations would inure to the benefit of the Supreme Court and the Justice System of the country because of their competence, sound judgments, astuteness and integrity.

But the Minority also raised issues with the timing of the appointments that could give rise to speculations, explaining that the timing did not give adequate room to critically assess the nominee’s brought before the Committee.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Member for Sekondi, who termed the nominations as “sunset appointments”, said critical appointments should not be made at the embers of an administration.

He said even though the appointment of the two would not encounter reservations from the legal community, the timing of such important appointments should be reviewed in order not to give the wrong impressions.

Inusah Fuseini, MP for Tamale Central and Deputy Energy Minister said both judges had acquitted themselves very well at the bench and that their nominations could not have come at a better time because the wheels of justice cannot come to a halt.

He said fine judges should be identified, recognised and promoted, adding that institutions such as the Judiciary should be supported by parliament and matters relating to the highest court of the land should not be politicised.

Source: GNA

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