As He Breaks His Promise To Justice Dotse
President Akufo-Addo, yesterday tried to appease the Asantehene and the people of the Ashanti Region, by nominating one of their own; Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, as Chief Justice subject to Parliamentary approval.
What is unknown to many, however, is that the appointment means President Akufo-Addo, has broken a promise he made to Justice Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse, who was told to be in readiness to ascend the position, when the outgoing Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo, retires.
The promise, was made to the Kpando-born Justice Dotse, when his friend and confidante; Georgina Wood retired about two years ago.
Although, kept faith with the promise and continued playing his godfather roles in the Volta Region for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), The Herald is informed that intense lobbying by Justice Anin-Yeboah, his ethnic background and attempt to win back the Ashanti Region, weighed heavily against the man who coined the phrase “Create, Loot and Share” against the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) during Woyome debacle and won applause from the NPP.
The Herald has learnt of a frosty relations between the Golden Stool and the Jubilee House in recent times with parties refusing to honour meetings, and the President according to insiders is seeking to undo the growing anger against him from the stronghold of party; theNPP, with this appointment.
This paper is informed that Otumfour Osei Tutu Osei II, has not been happy in recent times, as result of some treatment he received from the President and some members of the President’s family ahead of a trip to United States of America during which he met officials of the World Bank, some members of the Trump administration and official of the Millennium Development Corporation (MDC).
Otumfuor is said to have demanded some information from the government on the Power Distribution Service (PDS) transaction to enable his interaction with the Americans, but was snubbed by the government.
This is said to have taken place ahead of the cancellation of the transaction and despite the overwhelming confidence in the Otumfour by the America, the government was not ready to hear him, making him feel embarrassed.
He was said to have been pushed by the President himself to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to get whatever information he wanted but Mr Ofori-Atta, was not forthcoming any information and the expected decisions on the PDS transaction either. Otumfour and came back to Ghana embarrassed.
But as a fightback, he has also refused to pick calls from the President, and ahead of the gathering at the Prempeh College 70th Anniversary, the President, who had gotten wind of the anger against him, dashed to Manhyia Palace to speak to the occupant of the Golden Stool, but was refused the meeting and told to head to the durbar grounds, becauseOtumfuo Osei Tutu II, will be there too. The two men indeed, met there but the relationship has been repaired, The Herald’s insiders have revealed.
Justice Anin-Yeboah’s appointment is seen as attempt to court back the gone love between the golden stool and the people of Ashanti Region, who have openly been complaining bitterly about how their men, who have held the NPP together, have been sidelined by the President and his family members.
According to some of the NPP men in the Ashanti Region, they had made personal sacrifices and financial contributions during its difficult 8-years in opposition till the party won power, however, all the juicy appointments is gone to the Akyem Abuakwa elements in the party, some of whom were not around during the difficult years.
It is, however, to be seen how the NPP and indeed, the Golden Stool received the news of the nomination of Justice Anin-Yeboah. It is unclear, if President Akufo-Addo, even consulted Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who enjoys a pride of place in the political arrangement in the country, before the announcement as normally is the case.
The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, has referred the letter to the Appointments Committee of the House.
If approved, Justice Anin-Yeboah, who is the fourth longest-serving Justice of the Supreme Court, will succeed Justice Sophia Akuffo, who retires on December 20, 2019.
Justice Anin-Yeboah, was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President John Agyekum Kuffuor in June 2008.
He has also served as a Justice of the High Court, and a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
In addition, he is a part-time lecturer in Civil Procedure and the Ghana Legal System at the Ghana School of Law.
Prior to that, he had served as a Justice of the High Court from 2002 to 2003 and a Justice of the Court of Appeal from 2003 to 2008.
Apart from being a Supreme Court Justice, Justice AninYeboah, is also a part-time lecturer in Civil Procedure and the Ghana Legal System at the Ghana School of Law.
His name is also associated with football. In May 2017, he was appointed the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).
He also served as the Chairman of the Appeal’s Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) from 2004 to 2008.
Meanwhile, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee is disappointed with the President’s nomination of Justice Anin-Yeboah as a replacement for retiring Chief Justice.
Inusah Fuseini, said President Akufo-Addo, should have nominated Justice Dotse ahead of Justice Anin-Yeboah.
According to him, Justice Dotse is a senior on the bench and should have taken over from the current Justice Sophia Akuffo, who is due for retirement in eight days.
First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, who made it known in Parliament Thursday, said the letter from the President has been sent to the Appointments Committee of the House.
Although, disappointed in his nomination, Mr Fuseini, has congratulated Justice Yeboah, urging him to leave a legacy by reforming Ghana’s legal education should he be confirmed by the House.
“It is appropriate to congratulate Justice Anin-Yeboah because it means that the President has some level of confidence in his abilities to steer the affairs of the judiciary as Chief justice.
“I have known Anin-Yeboah, I have appeared before him when he was in the Court of Appeal before I came to Parliament and I know he has a deep appreciation of the law. With regards to legal education, Justice Dotse when he appeared before the Committee said it was behind in planning, so I expect him to lead the reform,” he said.
But Justice Dotse was my preferred candidate because he is the most senior on the bench.
“In their ranking, he is senior to Anin-Yeboah. At the time that they were appointing Sophia Akuffo, Dotse’s name came up forcefully. I was made to understand that the Chief Justice who is retiring was going to serve a short term and probably after that term, Dotse will be considered. I am disappointed because it means that the chances of Dotse are fore-closed because he is older than Anin-Yeboah, he said.”
Defending the nomination of Justice Anin-Yeboah, however, Joe Osei Owusu, said Justice Dotse and Justice Anin-Yeboah, were called to the bench on the same day, hence the concern of Justice Dotse being senior was flawed.
He said an emergency meeting has been called to agree on the vetting date.
“For many of us who are watchers of the judiciary, this is expected. His intelligence, his knowledge of the law and his integrity on the bench is quite well known so I am not surprised at all. At the Appointments Committee, he will get the opportunity to show the kind of person he is. The statement that Dotse is senior needs to be verified because I know for a fact that they were appointed on the same day.
“They were classmates, they were appointed the bench the same day, the court of appeal on the same day and to the Supreme Court the same day. But at the bar if your name is mentioned first, you are a senior, if I am mentioned second, it makes you a senior to me but it was on the same day. So I don’t think those complaining have any legitimate concerns to raise,” he said.