President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sworn into office Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a Professor of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon, as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana.
At a short ceremony on Tuesday at the Jubilee House in Accra, President Akufo-Addo admonished Prof Mensa-Bonsu, who is the fifth female member of the Court, to dispense justice in accordance with her conscience and the rule of law.
“It is important that you dispense justice in full accord with your conscience and the rule of law,” he said.
“You must ensure the strict application of the laws of the land without fear or favour, affection or I’ll will, and, therefore, without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any citizen of the land.”
“When anyone falls foul of the law, the society expects that the person will be dealt with accordingly, and the law enforcement agencies must ensure this is done…that is the true meaning of the concept of equality before the law,” he told the distinguished jurist.
Her enviable credentials span a period of over 39 years in academia, female activism, international relations, public service and religious engagements.
President Akufo-Addo administered the Oath of Allegiance, Judicial Oath, and Oath of Secrecy to Prof Mensa-Bonsu and congratulated her on her appointment to the apex court.
He said she had met the stringent requirements of the Constitution and “exhibited the independence of spirit, proven integrity, high moral character and impartiality of mind to hold the office.”
President Akufo-Addo said he was sure her time on the bench would help strengthen the course of jurisprudence and case law.
He seized the opportunity to remind the Justices of the Supreme Court that the Court was not bound to follow the decisions of any other court, including its own, to pass judgement.
He said the situation where judges proffered judgement on the basis of decisions from lower courts and cited them as law, or when no authority was cited, or reasons given for their orders, “is not acceptable.”
“With all other courts bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court on questions of law, it is obviously critical that Justices of the Supreme Court possess a sound knowledge of the law and of precedent,” the President said.
“Justices of the Supreme Court must be learned, know their case law and ensure their decisions and judgments are properly motivated…It is in this manner that judges contribute to the orderly development of the nation,” he noted.
Prof Mensa-Bonsu, who is also the current President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, expressed gratitude to President Akufo-Addo for finding her worthy of a seat on the highest court of the land.
“I have today taken on the onerous responsibility as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana,” she said, pledging that; “As always, I will devote my time and talents to Ghana’s call and serve her to the best of my abilities.”
Prof Mensa-Bonsu was nominated along with three others – Justice Clemence Jackson Hoenyenuga and Justice Issifu Imoro Tanko Amadu, both former Judges of the Court of Appeal, and Mr Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, a Private Legal Practitioner.
The four nominees were vetted rigorously by the Appointments Committee of Parliament and their appointments were unanimously approved last Wednesday.
Justices Clemence Jackson Hoenyenuga and Issifu Imoro Tanko Amadu were last week sworn into office. Mr Kulendi will join the Bench later today when the President swears him in.