Key High Court judges presiding over some highly charged political cases yesterday got promoted to the Court of Appeal, by President Akufo-Addo, at a ceremony inside the Jubilee House, which witnessed appointments to all three Superior Court of Judicature; the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. A total of 47 judges were promoted in all.
The Herald, strikingly identified three out of the 10 Justices appointed to the Court of Appeal, as sitting on cases involving appointees of John Dramani Mahama. Some of them are elements of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and had been accused of corruption and causing financial loss to the state by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
In a politically polarized country such as Ghana, the three judges might have been put in a very awkward situation where their decisions could be viewed from political angles. What is more, interestingly, there are judges at the High Court more senior to some of those promoted to the Court of Appeal.
The first judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, who is presiding over the government’s case against Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie; the former Board Chairman of the National Communication Authority (NCA), William Tetteh Tevie; former Director-General of the NCA; Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member; Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, a former Deputy National Security Coordinator, and a businessman, George Derek Oppong, was part of those promoted to Appeals Court.
The second judge, Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu of the Commercial Court 1 Division of the Accra High Court, who is presiding over the case involving the NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and Anthony Kweku Boahen, the party’s Deputy Communication Officer, has also been promoted to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo and Mr Boahen, are facing three counts of threat of harm, conspiracy to harm, and rioting in connection with a leaked tape containing a voice believed to be that of Mr Ofosu-Ampofo in which he is heard inciting verbal violence against the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and the Chairperson of the National Peace Council.
The third judge, Justice Anthony Oppong, is presiding over the trial of a former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, Richard Lassey Agbenyefia and five others, who have been accused of stealing and causing financial loss to the state in the Venture Capital case.
The former Keta MP, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), Daniel Duku, under the previous Mahama administration, as well as four former employees of the fund, have been charged by the Attorney General’s Department for allegedly misappropriating funds in excess of GH¢42 million belonging to the VCTF, a state agency.
The other four are; Irene Anti Mensah, an Investment Officer of VCTF, who doubled as Executive Assistant to Mr Duku, Frank Aboagye Mensah, businessman, Kofi Sarpong, former Investment Officer of VCTF and Charity Opoku, aka Charity Ameyaw, an accountant at VCTF.
The accused persons are facing a total of 86 charges, and they all pleaded not guilty when they made their maiden appearance before the court.They were granted bail in the sum of GH¢170 million.
At the swearing-in ceremony yesterday, President Akufo-Addo, drew the attention of some 45 newly appointed Justices to the fact that the people of Ghana will not in any way accept the repetition of the 2015 Judicial Corruption exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas that led to the removal of several Judges from the Bench.
In his statement after administering the Oath of Office, the Judicial Oath and the Oaths of Secrecy to newly appointed High Court and Court of Appeal Justices, as well as attendees of the swearing-in ceremony at the Banquet Hall of the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo, charged the new Justices to conduct themselves such that issues of corruption will not be found amongst them.
“It will be remiss of me on such as occasion not to draw your attention to recent events that shook public confidence in the Judiciary, and that is the exposé conducted by the well-known investigative journalist, AnasAremeyawAnas into Judicial Corruption which led to the removal of several judges. The people of Ghana cannot and will not tolerate the repetition of the abysmal dismal tale of acts of corruption that were revealed. You have a big duty to demonstrate integrity in all your dealings if public support in the Judiciary is to be maintained” President Akufo-Addo stated.
Quoting the Latin phase, “Interest Reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litum” which is translated, “It is in the interest of the State that litigation must come to an end”, President Akufo-Addo admonished the High Court Justices “to carry out their duties as the Court of first instance such that most Judicial proceedings will end at their doorsteps and thereby accelerate the process of Judicial administration”.
“By the same token, Justices of the Court of Appeal, you should so conduct yourselves. Even though our Judicial system comports a two-tier appellate Court, the overwhelming majority of appeals terminate at the Court of Appeal. The Apex Court, the Supreme Court, the Court of last resort should be ceased in its appellate Jurisdiction rarely if the Court of Appeal is satisfactory in its output” President Akufo-Addo said.
Justice of the High Court, Justice Aboagye Tandoh and Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Anthony Oppong, in response to the charge of the President on behalf of their colleagues noted that they are well aware of the task and responsibility placed on them as judges of the Superior Court of Judicature. They assured the President that they will discharge their duties without fear, favour, affection or ill-will.
Supreme Court Judges were, Justice Mariama Owusu, Justice Gertrude Torkonoo and Justice Avril Lovelace Johnson
Court of Appeal Justices
The Justices who have been appointed to the Court of Appeal are ten (10) in total. They are Justice Anthony Oppong, Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu, Justice Philip Bright Mensah, Justice Angelina Mensah-Homiah and Justice Jennifer Amanda Dodoo.
The rest are, Justice Sophia Rosetta Oduokua Bernasko Essah, Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, Justice Yaw Darko Asare, Justice Janapare Bartels-Kujo and Justice Obeng-Manu Jnr.
High Court Justices
The High Court Justices numbering thirty four (34) are Gabriel Nene Kwao Mate-Teye, Lydia Osei Marfo, Ali Baba Abature, Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku, Mariama Sammo, Patricia Quansah, AboagyeTandoh, Ruby Aryeetey, Kwame Amoako, Mariam Saleh Sinare, Cynthia Wiredu, Frank Aboadwe Rockson, Emmanuel Ayesu Essampong, Frederick Arnold Wekem Kwesi Nawurah, Rita Abena Abrokwah Doko, Comfort Kwasiwor Tasiame and Ruby Naa Adjeley Quaison.
The remaining are, Priscilla Dikro Ofori, Mary Maame Ekue Nsenkyire, Jane Harriet Akweley Quaye, Ayitey Armah-Tetteh, Charity Akosua Asem, Malike AwoWoanyah Dey, Doris Dabanka-Bekoe, Stephen Oppong, Emmanuel Kofi Diaba, Sarah Aryee, Mavis Akua Andoh, Eudora Christina Dadson, George Appah Kwabena, Naana Bedu-Addo, Amos WuntahWuni, Afi Agbanu and Enyonam Adinyira.