President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has noted with concern the waning integrity of Ghana’s judicial system, urging legal practitioners to guard jealously, and preserve the sanctity of the country’s Judicial process to enhance democracy and economic development.
He indicated that confidence in the judicial system of any country was necessary for a thriving democracy and economic growth, saying, “I believe that it is time for us to accept that justice delivery is a service and just like any other service, the customer must be satisfied with the entire process of the service, in this case, justice”.
President Akufo-Addo expressed these sentiments when he joined the Accra Ridge Church congregation to observe the 10 anniversary celebration of the late Chief Justice George Kingsley Acquah in Accra on Saturday.
“When we have an efficient delivery of justice through our courts, investors, domestic and foreign, will be encouraged to invest their resources in Ghana because they can be assured of an efficient and business-friendly judicial system,” he said.
President, paying glowing tribute to the late Chief Justice Acquah, described him as a “respectable and decent man.”
He said until his appointment as a Justice of the High Court in 1989, the late Chief Justice Acquah was “one of the most diligent lawyers in Cape Coast and the courts in which he practised”, and that he distinguished himself on the Bench as an eminent jurist, and rose to become a Justice of the Supreme Court in 1995.
“In my practice as a lawyer, I appeared before him as a member of the panel of the Supreme Court in cases that have shaped our constitutional jurisprudence, including Mensah v. Attorney-General [1997-98] 1 GLR 227 and Republic v. Tommy Thompson Books Limited and Others (No 1) [1997-98] 1 GLR 611,” he said.
The President said: “As Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, I appeared before him, when he sat as a member of the panel of the Supreme Court in Amidu v. Kufuor and Others [2001-2002] 2 GLR 510 and Tsikata v. Attorney-General [2001-2002] 2 GLR 1, where he was a part of the original minority, and subsequent majority on review of a case that gripped the public attention of our nation.”
With all these constitutionally decided cases in the late Chief Justice’s armoury of judgments, President Akufo-Addo noted that “it came as no surprise to me, and many others in the legal fraternity, when my former boss, President John Agyekum Kufuor, appointed him as the eleventh Chief Justice of the Republic in July 2003, an appointment that was fitting for a man who was so deeply committed to the principle of judicial independence.”
As Chief Justice, President Akufo-Addo stated that Justice Acquah “helped champion the efforts to reform and codify the laws of Ghana’s customary dispute resolution. He will be remembered for his initiative to improve the excellence of the Judicial Service, and justice delivery in Ghana. And I am pleased to see that his efforts and initiatives have been continued, even more vigorously by his successor, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.”
Chief Justice Acquah’s excellent service to the public, the President added, earned him the award, Order of the Star of Ghana, the highest honour in Ghana.
Present at the ceremony were several dignitaries including Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, Justice William Atuguba; the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo; and the widow of the late Chief Juctice, Mrs Jane Acquah.