- Appoints former parliamentary aspirant as replacement for Justices Dotse and Honyenuga at Supreme Court
President Nana Akufo-Addo, has nominated four judges to serve as justices of the Supreme Court, but barely was the announcement made yesterday, came an image of one of the newly appointed justices on social media that he has been deeply and actively involved in partisan politics.
Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, was captured on a 2016 poster as a contestant for the Ho Central Constituency seat of the Volta Region on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He is less than three years at the High Court, and it is not clear, if he had given any landmark judgment to enrich the legal books, to warrant this leapfrogging.
He was the only one moved among the justices appointed by the president to serve at the Supreme Court, to have been appointed from the High Court, indicative of his importance to the Akufo-Addo government. It is also being seen as an attempt to create a semblance of regional balance on the bench.
The appointment of Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, has left room for claims that he has been appointed as a replacement for Justices Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse and Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, two good friends from the Volta Region, who had made it to Supreme Court, but have often times faced criticism for being partisan in their decisions.
The two are 69-years-old and due for their mandatory retirement at age 70, in a few months.
But Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, is not the only partisan element appointed on the bench by President Akufo-Addo in recent times.
About two weeks ago, one Eric Ansah Ankomah, who had been very active on various social media platforms running commentary for and on behalf of the NPP, as well as the Akufo-Addo government, was made a High Court judge by the President, sparking a torrent of criticism with people making public some of his comments.
One of these comments read “Agyapa feeds his kids in school at no cost to parents and prepare them for better future. 4 more 4 to do more”, he had said in support of President Akufo-Addo’s re-election bid during the 2020 campaign, while mocking the National Democratic Congress’ John Dramani Mahama promise to build a mortuary for the Muslim community with the words “politicians and promises. Hmmmmm Moslems mortuary Ay3 k3se”.
On November 20, 2020, he had gone on facebook campaigning for the NPP by writing “When was the last time your SHS student told you Dady they’ve sacked me for not paying school fees? The Prez is paying ooo. God bless you Mr President.
Before that, he had on November 17, 2020, written “One of them described him as stupid when he hit him with GO1. The other wished him well when he described his move as political interference. The choice is yours”.
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, on the floor of the House, announced Justice Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu, Justice George Kingsley Koomsom, and Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu, all of the Court of Appeal, had been appointment to the Supreme Court together with Justice Yao Gaewu, appointed from the High Court.
Justice George Kingsley Koomsom, was the chairman of the Ejura Committee that investigated the public disturbance in the wake of shooting to death of Ibrahim Mohammed popularly known as Kaaka Macho.
The appointment, was said to be on the advice of the Judicial Council, as a result of pending vacancies in the Apex court.
The Speaker, indicated that the president is seeking the approval of parliament for the appointment of the nominees as justices of the Supreme Court.
In a statement to parliament, the president said “he is fully satisfied that each person is duly qualified, and eminently fit to discharge the functions of justice of the apex court.”
President Akufo-Addo, called on the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, to ensure the “expeditious” consideration of the nominees so that they can start work “as soon as practicable”.
The President indicated that he was advised by the Judicial Council to make the nominations as a result of vacancies, some occasioned by death, at the apex court of the land.
That counsel came by a letter written by Chief Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah.
The nominations were, consequently, made, in accordance with Article 144(2) of the 1992 Constitution.
President Akufo-Addo’s letter read by the Speaker of Parliament indicated that the Council of State was informed about the nominations.
The Council has since completed its consultations and given its backing to the nominations.
“I am fully satisfied that each of these persons is duly qualified and eminently fit to discharge the functions of the justice of the Supreme Court,” President Akufo-Addo’s letter read in part.
“Mr Speaker, it is my respectful hope and expectation that the approval of the nominees will proceed expeditiously to enable them assume office as soon as practicable.”