President Nana Akufo-Addo has sworn in the new Chief Justice Sophia Abena Boafowaa Akuffo at a short but impressive ceremony at the State House Monday.
The new Chief Justice in a seamless recitation took tree oath - Oath of Allegiance, the Judicial Oath and the Oath of Secrecy - before a host of invited guests including ex-presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Kufuor, leaders of political parties, members of the diplomatic corps.
Her Ladyship the Chief Justice received the instruments of appointment before signing her way into office as Chief Justice.
She is the second female Chief Justice, having taken over from Georgina Theodora Wood who retired from office early this month.
The president shortly before inducting her into office said the swearing into office of the Chief Justice is in keeping with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and a resolve to having a functioning democracy and the rule of law.
He said the judiciary remains the bulwark of the country’s democracy and prayed the new Chief Justice will walk in the footsteps of the 12 Chief Justices before her.
Describing her as the “leading light of the court” the president hoped Sophia Akuffo will lead a new administration of honest judges; who possess integrity and have a sound knowledge of the law.
He prayed that judges will, henceforth not deliver judgements without citing any authority or giving any reasons for the decisions they take.
He prayed that judges will, henceforth not deliver judgement without citing any authority or giving any reasons for the decisions they take.
Being a “worthy successor” the president is confident the new Chief Justice will jealously guard the institution and bring honour to the judiciary.”
Despite the many challenges, the president was hugely impressed with the performance of the judiciary under the fourth republic.
He said even though the judiciary ruled against his party in the famous election petition in 2012, the decision by the then Chief Justice to have the proceedings covered live has in no small way enhanced the justice delivery system in the country and people's understanding of the process.
Tribute to Georgina Wood
The president paid glowing tribute to the outgoing Chief Justice Georgina Wood whose contribution to the justice delivery system has been phenomenal.
As the longest serving Chief Justice in the country with the plaudits of swearing in three different presidents, Nana Akufo-Addo said her “career is extraordinary and truly historic.”
Citing the case of the judicial bribery scandal which saw leading judges captured on camera by ace investigative journalists Anas Aremeyaw Anas trading justice for money, sheep, goats etc, the president said the steps taken by the Chief Justice to ensure sanity in the system have been commendable.
He hoped the outgoing Chief Justice will have a long term peaceful retirement even though she will take up another challenge of being on the Council of State.
The president also thanked the acting Chief Justice William Atuguba, whose role at the bench has been just as phenomenal.
Violence; rule of law
At a time when political party supporters have been on rampage, resisting appointments and manhandling public officers and visiting mayhem on others, the president said his government will not shield anyone.
He cited the case in Savelugu where the governing party supporters are said to be resisting the appointment of the MCE, saying the offenders must face the law.
My government will not shield anyone,” he warned, adding, “when you fall foul of the law you will be dealt with.”
“We cannot have development which will bring jobs to our youth without order,” he warned and charged the police and the judiciary to work hand in hand to deal with the perpetrators.
The new Chief Justice was humbled by the confidence reposed in her by the president and swore to live up to expectation. She lamented the delays in the justice delivery systems in the country and promised to work to resolve that.
She thanked ex-president John Rawlings who first appointed her to the highest court of the land as well as to presidents John Kufuor and Mahama both of whom played roles in her appointment to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.