Deputy Minority Chief Whip in Parliament, Ahmed Ibrahim, has questioned the President’s decision to nominate Justice Ernest Gaewu to the Supreme Court bench and also condemned financially challenged country like Ghana, keeping 19 Supreme Court Justices.
According to him, the nominee is not fit for the apex court, as he is a politically tainted former parliamentary candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ho Central constituency.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Banda Constituency in the Bono Region, has also questioned why a smaller country like Ghana, will have 19 Supreme Court judges, when the United States with its enormous resources, has only 9.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, had insisted that the cost of keeping and maintaining a Supreme Court judge, is equivalent to keeping five MPs, because the Supreme Court judges retire on their salaries.
Interestingly, some of these judges, don’t have offices to operate from, as the existing facility was built for a limited number.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presented four Supreme Court nominees to Parliament for vetting and possible clearance. The list included, Ernest Gaewu, a Justice of the High Court.
Speaking to Citi News, Ahmed Ibrahim, said Ernest Gaewu’s nomination tampers with the reputation of the Supreme Court.
“Judges are not supposed to meddle in politics, so why do you send a politician to the bench? Let’s protect the myth surrounding the Supreme Court because back then, when the Supreme Court was mentioned, lawyers were afraid but today, even serial callers are being nominated to the Supreme Court”.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo nominated Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu together with Justice Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu, Justice George Kingsley Koomson, and Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu.
Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, is the only nominee from the High Court, while the three others are justices of the Court of Appeal.
The Herald, has meanwhile mentioned how tough times await some of the recent nominees to the Supreme Court, as details continue to emerge on their suitability to be at the apex court.
First on the radar, is Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu, a Court of Appeal judge who the President is pushing to the Supreme Court. Reports available to The Herald is that he was once a subject of some investigations by ex-Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
Also billed for a hard-hitting scrutiny, is Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, a known member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who contested the 2016 Parliamentary election in Ho Central Constituency of the Volta Region, but lost to Benjamin Komla Kpodo of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Both Justice Asiedu and Justice Gaewu, are mentioned as candidates of Chief Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah and Justice Jones Mawulorm Dotse respectively.
The two Supreme Court justices, are sponsoring the nominees as their representatives at the apex court.
The Appointments Committee of Parliament, which will soon be vetting them and two others, last Friday, issued a press release informing interested persons and organizations to submit memoranda on the nominees for consideration.
But ahead of the press release, The Herald’s findings on Justice Asiedu, is that he has had some disciplinary challenges and came close to being sacked from the Judicial Service. Indeed, ex-Chief Justice Wood, is mentioned as the one who saved his skin.
The Judicial Council, is said to have investigated the content of a petition filed against him by an Accra-based legal practitioner.
Justice Asiedu, was said to have been captured in several midnight conversations with a defendant’s lawyer on a case he was presiding over.
His phone records and text messages, were said to have been obtained and shown to members of a committee set up by ex-Chief Justice Georgina Wood. The records had revealed that there had been several interactions between him and a female lawyer on the case.
The Supreme Court nominee, was mentioned as taking certain interesting decisions on the matter, buying into every argument of the female lawyer irrespective of the position of the law or the sound argument put forward by the other lawyers.
This aroused the suspicion of the plaintiff to launch a secret investigation into the conduct of Justice Asiedu, where he was found to have been in private chats with the female lawyer.
The Herald’s information is that there were suspicions that the two privately met many times, sometimes late into the night, while the case was ongoing.
He is said to be a darling boy of the current Chief Justice, who mostly deploys him to run errands for him and in return gets protection. He is mentioned to be one who bows to superior authority.
The content of that petition, records of proceedings and the final report are most likely to hit the public domain and possibly during Justice Asiedu’s vetting.
In the case of Justice Gaewu, The Herald has dug out that he is a known Justice Dotse’s errand boy.
He had been at the Supreme Court judge’s private law firm; Mawulorm Chambers, in Ho practicing law until two years ago, when he was nominated by President Akufo-Addo to the High Court.
Last week, as soon as his Supreme Court nomination was announced, pictures of him on a poster as the NPP Parliamentary candidate in the 2016 elections, popped up and went viral.
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 come from the High Court, indicative of his importance to the Akufo-Addo government.
His appointment is also being seen as the President’s attempt to create a semblance of regional balance at the apex court.
The appointment of Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, has left room for claims that he has been appointed as a replacement for Justices 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 for the NPP 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”.
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.