Ghana’ new Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah has been sworn into office today, promising to jealously guard the integrity of the country’s judiciary which was tainted by some bribe-taking judges four years ago.
The senior Supreme Court judge said he feels humbled by the opportunity given him to lead the country’s judiciary that has over the years managed to win back the confidence of the people despite the excesses.
“I want to assure the people of Ghana that I will continue to jealously guard the integrity of the judiciary as my predecessors in office have done,” he promised at his swearing-in at the Jubilee House on January 7, 2020.
Justice Anin-Yeboah was appointed by President Nana Akufo-Addo in December 2019 following the retirement of the then chief justice Sophia Abena Akuffo on December 20, 2019.
After long hours of vetting on December 23, 2019, the Appointments Committee of Parliament by a consensus, recommended to the House to approve his nomination as the new Chief Justice based on his competence, independence of though and forthrightness.
Parliament consequently at a marathon sitting the next day, unanimously approved Justice Anin-Yeboah to succeed Justice Sophia Akuffo who was the second female chief justice in the history of Ghana.
Justice Anin-Yeboah becomes the 14th Chief Justice of Ghana and the first male Chief Justice in 12 years.
In his swearing-in address, he said, he would work to justify the confidence reposed in him by the President, Council of State and Parliament.
“This morning, before all persons present, I have solemnly made three oaths for which I will be responsible to this country and to my creator,” he said.
Justice Anin-Yeboah said as he has taken an oath to be loyal to the republic, he will “faithfully” perform the functions of his office “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
Quoting Proverbs 31:9, he said “Your Excellency, I assure you and the people of Ghana that I will give all my best and I will live to the confidence that has been reposed in me by you today”.
Justice Anin-Yebah said it was evident during his vetting that issues of the judiciary were of concern to the people of Ghana.
Key among the issues, he indicated, was the integrity of the judiciary and the continued perception of corruption, delays in the justice delivery system, poor infrastructure of the courts and residences of judicial officers and inadequate resources for the running of the judiciary and justice delivery system.
He also mentioned the controversial issue surrounding the country’s legal education.
As the new Chief Justice, he assured the people of Ghana that he will “take all necessary steps to ensure that during my term of office, solutions are found to these issues of concern”.
He however indicated he would rely on the support of all, especially the President Nana Akufo-Addo for the finances required in solving these issues.
“In doing so, your Excellency, I will count on your support to secure the much needed financial resources for improved and efficient justice delivery,” Justice Anin-Yeboah said.
The new CJ has meanwhile thanked Justice Sophia Akuffo for what he said was her dynamic leadership in the two and half years that she served as Ghana’s second female chief justice.
He also thanked former CJ, Mrs Georgina T Wood for teaching him “basic administration in the judicial process”, saying “I commend her for her zeal and quality of justice delivered”.
His selection wasn’t a difficult choice – Akufo-Addo
Meanwhile, President Nana Akufo-Addo who swore him into office explained selecting Justice Anin-Yeboah was not a choice that was difficult for him to make considering his qualification and experience.
He noted that the for the 17 years that Justice Anin-Yeboah has been on the bench, he has “served with distinction”
“I’m sure that Mr Justice Anin-yeboah will be an effective leader of the judiciary,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He wants the new CJ to guard jealously the independence of the judiciary in a manner that he said “will bring honour to the judiciary and to our country”
“I expect decency, discipline, fairness, hard work, deep-seated respect for the rule of law and the continuing modernisation of judicial activities to be the hallmark tool of his era as chief justice,” Akufo-Addo stated.
Support him to succeed
President Nana Akufo-Addo described as “admirable gesture”, the support shown Justice Anin-Yeboah by Supreme Court judges and lawyers during his vetting.
“I’m hopeful that this same of support will be forthcoming as he assumes the mantle of the head of the judiciary.
“To his colleagues on the Bench and members of the Bar, I urge your continued solidarity and cooperation with the new chief justice to promote the rule of law. That will be in line with the finest traditions of the bench and the bar and will help enhance the welfare of our people,” Akufo-Addo pleaded.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana