But President Declares “Blood Is Thicker Than Water”
There’s turmoil in the Akufo-Addo government and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP)over his decision to appoint his paternal cousin and former law firm partner; Justice Sophia Akuffo, as the new Chief Justice, the fourth most powerful person in Ghana.
Many in the NPP are of the view that, President Akufo-Addo’s refusal to appoint either Justice Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse or Justice Anin Yeboah and settled on his direct cousin from Akropong Akwapim in the Eastern Region, will not inure to the benefit of the NPP.
They argue that, the President and the NPP are currently facing accusation of having created a “family and friends government”, therefore making Justice Sophia Akuffo, Chief Justice, will further compound the problem and arm the party’s opponents against it.
There is a tall list of family members of President in his government. They Include, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Works and Housing Minister, Atta Akyea, current Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo and the Minister for Roads and Highways – Kwesi Amoako Atta and many others.
They are of the opinion that, appointing the Kpando-born Justice Dotse, a known member of the NPP, who practiced in Ho as a lawyer for many years in the Volta Region, could give the NPP a new image for membership drive.
But The Herald is informed that, President Akufo-Addo at a meeting inside the Flagstaff House three days ago, sent chills down the spine of some of his appointees when he declared; “Blood is thicker than water”.
He vowed to make Justice Sophia Akuffo, Chief Justice to show that his family has the materials.
He also intends doing so to make his family members happy, having stood by him throughout his adult life and difficult moments till he became president of Ghana. He is not going to forget them.
The same Justice Sophia Akuffo, who was made a Supreme Court Justice by ex-President Jerry John Rawlings in the 90s, is a paternal auntie to the current Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo.
They are from Akropong Akwapim; same house with President Akufo-Addo, Also from this house Lawyer Kwame Akuffo.
Both Gloria and Sophia, had practiced as young lawyers in the law firm of Akufo–Addo, Prempeh and Co, a renowned law firm situated at Adabraka, Accra co-owned by the President.
Messrs Justice Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse and Justice Anin Yeboah, have worked diligently for the NPP using the Supreme Court bench.
Their decisions always favour the NPP. Some of them were captured celebrating when President John Dramani Mahama, lost the Presidential election last year.
While, Justice Dotse, had coined the phrase “…..an alliance to create, loot and share” for the NPP the Woyome- Waterville case before the Supreme Court, Tsatsu Tsikata, once accused Justice Anin Yeboah of persistently and consistently taking opposition to the stance of the NDC, because he was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Justice Anin Yeboah, also comes from Nkawie in the Ashanti Region, same town as ex-President Kufuor.
It is not yet certain, the kinds of reforms that Justice Sophia Akuffo, could bring in this era of judicial corruption.
Justice Sophia Akuffo, was the one who chaired the Supreme Court panel on the NPP case against the Electoral Commission (EC) and later convicted Salifu Maase, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako-Gunn in the infamous Montie FM case.
The pro-NPP newspaper; Daily Guide yesterday reported that Ghanaians are likely to have another female Chief Justice (CJ) as the Council of State, considers the nomination of President Akufo-Addo for the coveted position.
“DAILY GUIDE’s reliable source indicates that the next Chief Justice to succeed outgoing Georgina Theodora Wood may be Justice Sophia AB Akuffo, who is seen as the most senior member at the apex court, having joined the bench in 1997”, it said.
It went on “according to the source, Justice Akuffo beat two other contenders – Justices Jones Victor Mawulom Dotse and Kwasi Anin-Yeboah for the topmost position of the judiciary, because of her wealth of experience and her impeccable contributions to the country’s jurisprudence”.
“President Akufo-Addo is said to have submitted her name to the Council of State for advice after which it would be made public – subject to approval by the Council – before parliament finally gives its nod to the nomination”.
“She was said to have been appointed from private practice to the Supreme Court at a very young age in May, 1997 by the then head of state, Jerry John Rawlings”.
“She was not part of the panel that heard the 2013 landmark election petition filed by three prominent figures of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), including the then standard bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (now president)”.
Justice Akuffo holds an LLB in Law from the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, and an LLM Master degree in Law from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Her publications include ‘The Application of Information & Communication Technology in the Judicial Process – The Ghanaian Experience,’ presented to the African Judicial Network, Ghana (2002).
Current Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, is leaving office in June after 10 years’ service as the head of the third arm of government – the Judiciary.
Sophia A.B. Akuffo, has been a Judge of the Supreme Court of Ghana for the past two decades.
She trained as a lawyer under Nana Akufo-Addo. She has been a member of the Governing Committee of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute and the Chairperson of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Task Force.
In January 2006, she was elected one of the first judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. She was initially elected for two years and was subsequently re-elected until 2014.
One of her famous cases is when she presided over the Montie 3 trial in 2016. The Montie 3, were a presenter and two panelists of Montie FM – a pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) radio station – who were charged by the Supreme Court of contempt.