Debates of 19 Jun 2017

PRAYERS 10:15 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon Members, Correc- tion of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 16th June, 2017.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, there are no Statements, so, we will move to Commencement of Public Business.
    Item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Presentation of Papers.
    PAPERS 10:15 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Item numbered 5 on the Order Paper -- Motions.
    MOTIONS 10:15 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu) 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination for appointment as Chief Justice may be moved today.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Item numbered 6 on the Order Paper. Hon Chairman of the Committee, you may move the substantive Motion.

    Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nomination for

    appointment as Chief Justice
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination for appointment as Chief Justice.
    In accordance with article 144 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana, exercising his due
    prerogative and after prior consultation with the Council of State, communicated to Parliament on Thursday, 1st June, 2017, his nomination of Her Lordship, Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo, Justice of the Supreme Court, as the next Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.
    Consequently, the nomination was referred to the Appointments Committee by the Rt. Hon Speaker for consideration and report, pursuant to Order 172(4) of the Standing Orders of the House.
    Reference documents
    The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations:
    i. The 1992 Constitution
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament
    iii. The nominee's Curriculum Vitae; and
    iv. Selected judgements and public- ations of Her Lordship, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo.
    Consideration of the Referral
    Pursuant to Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Committee in the first instance, caused to be published in newspapers of national circulation, the name of the nominee and notice of the Committee's Public Hearing for the attention of the general public. The publication further requested Memoranda from the general public on the nominee.
    The Committee subsequently obtained Confidential Report on the nominee from the Ghana Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) as part of its background checks.
    The nominee's Tax Status Report was obtained from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
    A public hearing was thereafter held to consider the nomination. At the start of proceedings, the nominee subscribed to the Oath of a Witness and subsequently answered questions relating to her Curriculum Vitae, matters relating to her eligibility, issues pertaining to Judicial administration and other issues of national concern.
    The Committee has duly considered the nomination and reports as follows:
    Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo w a s b o r n o n 2 0
    th December, 1949 at Akropong-Akwapim in the Eastern Region. She had her primary education at Konongo-Odumase United Primary School (1955), Kyebi Presbyterian Primary School (1955 -1956), Osu Presbyterian Girls' Primary School (1956-1957), Kyebi Presbyterian Primary School (1957), Osu Presbyterian Girls' Primary School (1958- 1959), Nsawam Presbyterian Primary School (1959) and Suhum Presbyterian Primary School (1960-1961).
    She continued at Oyoko-Koforidua L.A. Middle School (1961-1962) and later enrolled at Parliament Hill School, Kampstead, London, England in 1962 where she obtained her GCE Ordinary Level Certificate -- 1966. From 1966 to 1967, Justice Sophia Akuffo registered as a private candidate at the London University for another GCE Ordinary Level Certificate. She later attended the Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast for her GCE Advanced Level Certificate from 1967 to 1969.
    Justice Sophia Akuffo attended the University of Ghana in 1969 and was awarded a Literally Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) Degree in 1972. In 1974, on a
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 10:25 a.m.

    When this was pointed out to the nominee for her to set the record straight, she stated that she was not aware of that discrepancy in the date of her appointment. She assured the Committee that a copy of her warrant of appointment to the Supreme Court bearing the effective date of appointment would be provided to the Committee.

    Recruitment of Judges

    When she was asked how she would ensure transparency in the recruitment of judges, the nominee stated that various processes and criteria were used in the recruitment of judges. She mentioned that some of the criteria used included the number of years on the bar or bench, written examinations and interviews, among others. She told the Committee that written examinations were used to test the competencies and knowledge of the law, whilst interviews were used to check the character and behaviour of the person.

    The nominee further indicated that enquiry from the Bar had been used to screen those coming from practice. She opined that on occasions, inputs from the Bar had assisted in the appointment or otherwise of private practitioners onto the Bench. She stated that if the higher Bench were to get the right calibre of personnel, then more work needed to be done at the lower Bench. She maintained that looking at best practices in other countries, there was more room for improvement.

    She told the Committee that from the Bar to the Bench, another criteria which had developed to assist in determining whether a person was to be appointed to the bench is focussed on lawyers' written submissions in court and the reputation of the individual. While the nominee would not fault the current system of

    recruitment, she indicated that it left room for further improvement. She therefore promised to polish the rough edges and make the system better.

    Admissibility of electronic evidence

    Responding to a question on the admissibility of electronic evidence in court, the nominee informed the Committee that everything that helped to preserve the integrity of records and speed up litigation should be in the realms of possibility. She said there were many jurisdictions that were at various stages of mainstreaming technology on how things should be done.

    She shared with the Committee her experiences over the years, where she had had the opportunity to observe a number of countries that had successfully integrated technology into their legal systems. One such country is Algeria, where cases are dispensed with without the parties being present at one place at the same time. In Algeria, one could use telephone to conduct his case as a result of the availability of a strong satellite connectivity backbone infrastructure.

    She told the Committee that reforms were both onward and upward and that there were various methods of enhancing justice delivery. She intimated that all avenues for enhancing quality justice delivery would be explored and encouraged.

    Streamlining procedures governing Presidential petitions

    In response to the issue of developing rules to govern presidential election petitions, the nominee informed the Committee that the courts had already developed the rules governing the regulation of presidential petitions. The duration for the consideration of these

    petitions had been optimised. She informed the Committee that, time lags had been built into the Constitution and until the Constitution is amended, little could be done.

    Districts without court services

    The nominee informed the Committee that, it had been part of the Judicial Policy that every district should have a district court and that districts without district courts suffered setbacks in the administration of justice and that the anomaly needed to be corrected.

    She indicated that in line with government development programmes, such as the one district-one factory, business activities were expected to thrive which would lead to an increase in possible litigation. It had therefore become imperative that the districts were served with services that facilitated the adminis- tration of justice and justice delivery.

    She assured the Committee that if she were approved, all districts without courts in the country would be given ultra- modern courts to ensure justice delivery at the district level.

    Existence of the death penalty in our Statutes

    In response to a question whether the courts should still enforce the death penalty, the nominee informed the Committee that death sentence is still on our statute books and until it was scraped, the courts were obliged to resort to it.

    She, therefore, called on the Le- gislators, as representatives of the people, to take the necessary steps to remove the death penalty, if in their view, it should be removed.

    Independence of the Judiciary

    The nominee in response to a question whether the Judiciary was independent, explained that under the Bangalore principle, the independence of the Judiciary included financial indepen- dence.

    She stated that funding the Judiciary is very important as it facilitates justice delivery. She said everyone would like to see a well-built and properly equipped court room. She opined that justice must have a certain cliché and that when justice was delivered from a dirty room, it detracts from its force and effectiveness. She therefore suggested that from the Magistrate Court to the Supreme Court should all be well equipped to ensure and promote speedy trial and justice.

    The nominee informed the Committee that lack of financial resources, adversely affected the work of the Judiciary. She said this has consequences on development, security and stability of the nation.

    She, therefore, called on government to provide more resources including increasing the percentage of Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) retained to enable the Judiciary perform its functions effectively.

    Funding the Judicial Training Institute

    She told the Committee that in order to ensure quality judgment, judges would have to be trained in new norms and applications to improve upon their competence. New judges also required necessary orientation. She said these training programmes were very vital for justice delivery.

    She indicated that the institution used by the Judiciary to undertake these requisite training was the Judicial Training
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 10:25 a.m.

    Empanelling of a full Bench

    Responding to what it took to empanel a full bench, the nominee informed the Committee that article 133(2) of the 1992 Constitution, provides that, when the Supreme Court had to review its decisions, it should be constituted by not less than seven Justices. The practice had been that, when the Supreme Court had to hear a matter, a minimum of five Justices would be empanelled. In the event of a review, two more Justices would be added to the panel in order to comply with the Constitutional provision.

    She was of the view that for the full Bench to be mandatorily empanelled during a hearing of a constitutional matter, there would be the need for an amendment to the Constitution.

    The nominee, however, explained that the current law helped to encourage a review process. The nominee said the idea of sitting the entire panel may not only be cumbersome, but may elicit an adverse psychological impact.

    She held the view that the current system was less cumbersome and had a positive psychological impact.

    The Justice-For-All Programme

    The nominee informed the Committee that the ‘Justice-For-All' Programme had not only helped to decongest the prisons but also brought justice to the doorsteps of the people in the prisons.

    The nominee indicated that she would continue with the programme. However, she indicated that she needed to study how the programme was being implemented. She said there was the need to introduce paralegal staff to assist in the documentation and preparation of

    case files, as this would go a long way to expedite trials.

    Non-custodial sentences

    The nominee informed the Committee on the issue of non-custodial sentences that the prisons in the country were congested and that the courts had undertaken a number of measures to decongest the prisons. She indicated that if approved as Chief Justice, she would undertake a number of reforms to help address the issue.

    The nominee intimated to the Committee that the current sentencing regime had contributed significantly to the congestion in the prisons. She said the sentencing regime was based on legislation. Therefore, should Parliament enact a law for non-custodial sentences, judges would implement them and that would lead to the decongestion in the prisons.

    She indicated to the Committee that there had been instances where the judges in a criminal case had felt frustrated passing judgments, but had little alternative, as the law enjoined them.

    Politicisation affecting the Judiciary

    The nominee agreed with an observation by a Committee member that in Ghana everything was politicised and there was the need to work against it.

    She stated that there was the need to shield the judiciary from all external influences. She informed the Committee that her background cut across all the political divide. She was appointed in 1995 under the Rawlings' Administration to the Supreme Court. She had been nominated to the position of Chief Justice by the current Administration.

    The two governments were from different sides of the political divide which placed her at the centre of the divide.

    She said, to ensure that the judiciary was shielded from these politicisation, there was the need to enforce the code of conduct, ensure quality justice and make the appointment process transparent with the help of procedural guidelines.

    Mode of appointment and independence of Justices and the Judiciary

    On a question on whether Judges of the Superior Courts of Justice were appointed in a way that compromised their independence and that of the Judiciary, the nominee played down the issue of compromise. However, she opined that the appointment process needed be to improved with laid down processes and procedures spelt out in a form of set criteria.

    She conceded that, laid down guidelines or a criteria of appointment would help to some extent. However, the issue was not only peculiar to Ghana and that many democracies had to deal with similar challenges.

    She observed that, even though one could legislate on the criteria, in her considered view, the critical factor was to do what was just, which every judge should remember since they swore an oath to dispense justice in truth and fairness.

    Independence of the Judiciary

    On how the independence of the Judiciary was affected in its relationship with the Executive and the Legislative arms of government, given the fact that some Judges served as board members of some public institutions and agencies and made pronouncements on legal issues,

    which consequently became part of the law, the nominee stated that law-making powers were part of the judicial process. She opined that the Judiciary had the power to declare what the law was and what was unlawful.

    She intimated that the Constitution empowered the Judiciary to declare an Act of Parliament void and that whenever there were gaps in the law, rules of interpretation enabled the true application of the law.

    She told the Committee that, she did not see how a Justice serving on a State body amounted to loss of judicial independence because judicial indepen- dence related more to the work and not to the judge as an individual.

    Value of judicial precedents in the judicial system of Ghana

    On the value of precedents in the judicial system, the nominee stated that, judicial precedents had been part of our set of laws, and that only the Supreme Court was not bound by its decisions. However, every Court below the Supreme Court was bound by its previous decisions and that of the Supreme Court.

    Although, the nominee insisted that this was valuable, she said, there could be times when it would be necessary to depart from an existing decision because the Constitution was a living document.

    On how the lower courts could learn from the Supreme Court with respect to differing judgements on contempt cases, the nominee said that the questioner, in stating his case, had mixed up a number of elements namely; discretion, sentencing and judgements.

    She told the Committee that, one would hardly find any two cases where the circumstances were identical.
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 10:25 a.m.

    The nominee however explained that, when there are different opinions of the Supreme Court on the same principle of law, the court took the earliest opportunity to bring finality to the issue.

    Experiences at the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights

    The nominee shared her experiences on the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights and how her experiences could positively affect human rights cases before our courts. The nominee said the experiences she had were valuable as a domestic Judge who had served in an international court, and that the jurisprudence of different jurisdictions came to play towards the goal of enforcing and protecting human rights.

    She told the Committee that she had learnt how to deal with differences and divergent views and that she had realised how different Ghana was, compared to many African countries. She informed the Committee of her belief that our judicial system was better than many others on the continent.

    Adopting the South African Case Management System to end court delays

    On whether the nominee would consider and adopt the South African Case Management System where Judges who were assigned to cases could only take on another case, if the previous case had been dealt with, the nominee stated that, it was a good practice but there was the need to have a better understanding in the number of Judges there were in each region or district and the cost implications for such a policy.

    She reiterated that Ghana could copy best practices but needed to know the entire circumstances and the environment in which it was practised.

    Justification against budget cuts and increment in budgetary allocation to the Judiciary

    The nominee was asked why in her view the Judiciary's budget should not be reviewed downward against the practice where often, the Executive had “cut” their budget. In her answer, the nominee proceeded on the assumption that, the budget was prepared on all the requisite sound principles. She lamented that, budget cuts resulted in the justice delivery system suffering as a result of non-implementation of a number of programmes.

    She told the Committee that, quality justice did not come cheap, and that if the Judiciary were given their required budget, the Service would be in a position to give Judges the needed training to ensure quality justice delivery, and the nation would get value for money in terms of justice delivery and end up with a satisfied populace.

    The nominee was of the view that the ideal situation would be for Parliament to give approval to what it presented to the Executive without an Executive revision.

    Commitment to time limit by signing on to decisions, orders and rules

    Asked to give a commitment on reducing the time span that decisions, orders and rules of the courts took to get signed on, which in the long run affected investors and litigants among others, the nominee assured the Committee that she would come up with specific time lines within the first few months of assuming office if approved.

    Examination as mode of selecting Judges

    On the nominee's thoughts on the mode of selecting Judges through an examination or through the Ghana Bar

    Association's facilitation through the Judicial Council to determine competent hands across the country. The nominee stated that it was always possible to establish standards and criteria which in turn would ensure objectivity.

    The nominee said that, there was the need for a study to be done to determine which method would be better.

    Matters relating to the General Legal Council and Professional Law Training

    The nominee declined to comment on whether or not the General Legal Council was enjoined by law on its own accord to organize legal training as the matter was “sub-judice”.

    Promotion of “Lay Magistrates”

    With regard to the issue of the promotion of “Lay Magistrates”, the nominee explained that they were appropriately known as “Career Magistrates” for a purpose; which is what they were to have a career in the Magistracy. Therefore, their recruitment, orientation and training were all designed to achieve that purpose. There is therefore no issue of promotion beyond the Magistracy.

    Poor court infrastructure and quality of courtrooms

    The nominee, in response to plans to improve the infrastructure of courts in the country, told the Committee that a lot needed to be done to improve the physical facilities of the courts and that improving the infrastructure would also ensure quality administration and the delivery of justice.

    She stated that a programme was in place to refurbish all existing courtrooms

    across the country and advised the adoption of a good maintenance culture and programme to preserve judicial assets.

    She expressed her concern on the present state of the physical infrastructure of the courts as well as the state of electronic facilities.

    Completion of cases in the adminis- tration of justice

    In response to a question that there were instances where Court of Appeal Judges sat on cases as additional High Court Judges, and as a result, the cases at the Appellate Court span over periods of five to eight years before being dispensed with, the nominee intimated that a case that took five years or eight years to be decided on was not the best of practices and that she would take it up if she were approved.

    She, however, asserted that making Court of Appeal Justices sit as additional High Court Judges, might not necessarily be the cause of delays and that the delays might be due to other circumstances outside the judicial administration.

    She, recommended the utilisation of procedural rules which enabled the Court Registrar to certify cases that were inordinately delayed for them to be struck out for want of prosecution

    Existence of the Judicial Council

    In response to whether there was a Judicial Council in place to assist her in the discharge of her duties, the nominee stated that the Judicial Council was not in place, and that, if approved, she would bring it to the attention of the appointing authority as a matter of priority.
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 10:25 a.m.

    Conditions of service for the Judiciary and need for a Constitutional Instrument

    The Committee enquired from the nominee what steps she would take to improve the Conditions of Service for judicial and non-judicial staff as well as article 71 office holders of the Judicial Service as provided for under articles 158 (2) and 149 of the 1992 Constitution.

    The Committee was of the view that a Constitutional Instrument would clearly distinguish the officers working with the Judicial Service, mainly made up of Judicial Officers, Non-Judicial Officers and holders of Article 71 office holders under the Judiciary. Further, matters concerning Conditions of Service as specified under article 149 of the 1992 Constitution would be specified and provided for to enhance performance of the Judiciary.

    The nominee responded that she was aware that a draft Constitutional Instru- ment, in respect of that had already been submitted to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice for study and review.

    Seniority at the Supreme Court

    Responding to a question about seniority at the Bench, the nominee informed the Committee that in the Judiciary, seniority was highly regarded and upheld. This was an established practice in the Judicial Service as well, she added.

    The nominee stated that at the Supreme Court, Justice Atuguba was the most senior in the sense that, he was the first to have sat on the Bench. She explained further that, though Justice Atuguba and she entered the Ghana School of Law at the same time -- Continuing, she said she left after completing the Ghana School of Law to pursue her Master's Degree

    and when she returned, her mates had been called to the Bar.

    She, however, informed the Committee that both Justice Atuguba and she were appointed to the Supreme Court on the same date in 1995 and that at the Supreme Court, they shared the same date of birth.

    Amendment of article 88 (3)

    Responding to a question on how article 88 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, an entrenched provision could be amended, the nominee stated that the procedure for the amendment of the various provisions of the Constitution was provided for by the Constitution.

    Conclusion and recommendation

    The Committee observed that given her high standard of competence and integrity, forthrightness and indepen- dence of thought, astuteness and in-depth appreciation of the law, fairness and selflessness, the nominee, Her Lordship, Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo qualifies to serve as the Chief Justice of the Republic. Her demeanour and composure during the stretch of her vetting portrayed her as a patient and tolerant person.

    The Committee is also satisfied that the nomination of Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo is in conformity with the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders of the House and it is persuaded of her eligibility, competence and suitability and accordingly recommends by consensus the nominee to the House for approval.

    Respectfully submitted.

    Question proposed.
    Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the
    Mr Speaker, I beg to quote 10:35 a.m.
    “The validity of the election of the President may be challenged only by a citizen of Ghana who may present a petition for the purpose to the Supreme Court within twenty- one days after the declaration of the result of the election in respect of which the petition is presented.”
    We were told by the nominee that there were rules to deal with these petitions. Mr Speaker, with our experience, subsequent to the 2012 election petition,
    Mr Speaker, I beg to quote 10:45 a.m.
    where enormous time was spent -- close to six months -- I believe that we should see an end where even, instead of 21 days, we can say that this should be done within 7 days or 14 days.
    And having filed the petition, I strongly submit that the Supreme Court must not have more than 60, or at worse 90 days to make a determination of the matter. I believe stongly that, we would have to relook at the Constitutional provision of article 64.
    This is because, when the framers of the Constitution argued that the President shall have a term of four years, it should be an unfettered term of four years. Even though the legitimacy of it is not questioned and decisions and declarations are not questioned, it is important that we work with the Judiciary in order to have a closure whenever we have a Presidential Election Petition.
    The closure, in my view, should not exceed 60 days. The maximum should be within 90 days. If they have to sit day and night, they should do so in the interest of safeguarding our Constitutional democracy.
    Mr Speaker, Justice Sophia Akuffo would join many others. As you may recall, we have had Justice F. K. Apaloo - - 1977 to 1986; Justice Sowah -- 1986 to 1990; Justice Phillip Archer -- 1991 to 1995. We also had Justice Isaac Kobina Abban -- 1995 to 2001; Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu - 2001 to 2003 and Justice George Kingsley Acquah - 2003 to 2007. Now, she is going to put her feet into the shoes of Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, having served from 2007 till date.
    Mr Speaker, she was born in 1949. Sooner than later, she would also attain
    the terminal end of when she can serve on the Bench as a justice of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of Ghana. That means that, another transition would inure.
    Mr Speaker, may I further refer to page 20 of your Committee's Report -- Seniority at the Supreme Court. When she was asked a question, she herself alluded to the fact that, her twin nominee with whom she was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1995 was Justice Atuguba.
    If we were to follow seniority, then, the most senior at the Supreme Court would be Justice Atuguba. Mr Speaker, I say so, recognising that the President has done what is competent within the Constitution per article 144 of the Constitution, that in doing this appointment, he consults with the Council of State and Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, even with Parliament, we should look at the wording there. Unlike Ministers of State where it requires “prior approval of Parliament', in this instance, it is not the same thing.
    With your indulgence again, I beg to quote article 144 of the 1992 Constitution. It reads:
    “The Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament.”
    It is not “prior approval” but we still subjected her to the Appointments Committee, Mr Speaker, your Committee, which per the Hon Chairman and ourselves as Hon Members of the Committee, seek to improve some of the processes. Mr Speaker, seniority at the Bench is important and must be respected at all times.
    Mr Speaker, that leads me to a major issue. Still on page 20, Conditions of Service for the Judiciary. Mr Speaker, unlike Parliament where we have Constitutional Instrument (CI) 11 which governs the Conditions of Service of members of the Parliamentary Service, since 1993, it is my view that we have slept on article 158 (2) and 149 of the Constitution.
    The Judiciary needs to have a CI which makes a distinction and segregation between article 71 office holders, judicial officers and non-judicial officers. We have a situation where the Judicial Council meets and approves Conditions of Service for them and it is binding on the Executive.
    Mr Speaker, again, we have to take a position as a House. The Judiciary is one of the co-equal organs of State just like Parliament and the Executive. They suffer unnecessary budget cuts and that, in her view, affects the administration of justice and the delivery of justice.
    If we say that democracy is expensive, try it. It is expensive but it is worth it and I believe that we must begin to work towards increased budgetary allocations for the Judiciary.
    If one travels round the country apart from Accra, court infrastructure, particularly, are in very poor and dilapidated state across the country -- particularly in the regions and the districts -- and we would want to see an improvement in the delivery of justice across the country.
    Mr Speaker, on the C.I. as I said, referring to article 158 (2) and 149, of the 1992 Constitution, my Hon Colleagues who have worked at the Ministry of
    Finance would appreciate it. It says that, the Judicial Council shall, with the prior approval of the President, in consultation with the Public Services Commission and by CI.

    Since the promulgation of this Constitution, we have never had a Constitutional Instrument (C. I.) to govern the Conditions of Service of the Judiciary.

    It is heart-warming when I recall some engagements with the Judicial Council where they had their last strike action. Mr Speaker, permit me to spend some time on it. There is now a trade unionism manifesting -- I hope it does not come to Parliament in future -- within the Judiciary and that is dangerous, particularly to liberties and freedoms. For example, when a particular accused person is to appear on 24th of a month, then on the 24th, there is a strike action.

    There is a legal difficulty on what the status of that particular matter is. We need to support the Judiciary, so, I do share the position.

    The nominee was re-assuring in indicating to the Committee that, there is a draft Constitutional Instrument which has been submitted to the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice. The problem would not be the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice, the problem would be with the Ministry of Finance and Government's purse. But we need to find a way to deal with this particular issue.

    Mr Speaker, I also note -- and that is part of our displeasure and disquiet -- that though the President honoured article 149 of the Constitution, at the time of the nomination of the Chief Justice of our country and the vetting process, there is no Judicial Council in place.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, thank you very much. Definitely, your words were not few -- [Laughter.]
    And speaking about capping, if you read some very brilliant articles from the late Prof. Kludze, you would realise that, we cannot compare our system with that of America where the appeal system to that Apex Court is very limited. Here, we can appeal as of right to the Supreme Court on virtually all matters.
    So, you need a Court that is not just waiting for apex related issues only, but one which will be on general civil and criminal matters, including divorce cases et cetera. So, that is another interesting field that you could chose to go into.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Ms Joycelyn Tetteh (NDC -- South Dayi) 10:45 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. I would want to congratulate Her Lordship --
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Five minutes each; less congratulations and introductions and you make your points in five minutes.
    Ms Tetteh 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am a woman and I am proud of her, so, I believe I would like to congratulate her, once again, for the work. Of course, her competency is not in doubt.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Please, proceed.
    Ms Tetteh 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, she seriously spoke against the politicisation affecting the Judiciary and it is our humble plea to her as a woman to be a mother for all; she should live up to this without any bias.
    Mr Speaker, in answering a question with regard to the independence of the Judiciary, Her Lordship made it clear that financial independence was very key to the delivery of her work. It is our humble plea to the authorities in charge to equip her financially for her to deliver as a woman. We would not want her to disappoint us, so the authorities in charge should equip her and make the work very easy for her to do.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie (NPP-- Ablekuma North) 10:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Having ignored the introduction
    -- 10:45 a.m.

    Nana A. O. Afriyie 10:55 a.m.
    Having ignored the introduction, I would like to go straight to the point.
    Mr Speaker, the vast experience and qualification of our new Chief Justice coupled with her achievements in the study and practise of the law is so assuring that we, as a nation, are confident that she is rounded for the job.
    A critical look at her background reveals that she is a legal luminary especially in the legal system of Ghana and Ghanaian jurisprudence.
    Her Ladyship, Justice Sophia Akuffo has distinguished herself with excellence and we are certain that with the help of God Almighty, she would bring a remarkable change of quality and speed to our justice system.
    Mr Speaker, what is more refreshing is that she is a woman. Her appointment is yet another morale booster for the Ghanaian woman, especially, the girl child who is determined to emulate our leaders. We are proud of Her Lordship for the honour done to the Ghanaian woman, child and womanhood in general.
    Also, to the President of Ghana, we say ayekoo for recognising us women. This means that Ghana is going to have a second successful female Chief Justice which puts us a step in the right direction towards attaining gender equality.
    We say ayekoo to all the men who appreciate women and may God bless her. Amen.
    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 10:55 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    First of all, I would commend the Committee for the speed with which we have done this work.
    Some of the issues that were raised with the nominee included the fact that, article 142 of the Constitution, we have the Regional Tribunals of which she has always been a member like any other Appeal or other court. All of a sudden, we did not hear about the Regional Tribunals. Now, we have set up Sanitation Tribunals and others.
    I believe that part of the reasons that the Constitution provided for Regional Tribunals was the peculiarity of doing this. Her answer did not indicate that she was fully aware of what was happening.
    I believe that, it is important that we visit this issue. We have provisions in the Constitution and need to do something about it.
    Mr Speaker, the issue that was put to her about the dress code of Judges, particularly the Supreme Court Judges - - I said they should follow your example, the way the Speakers of Parliament have changed their dress code and people now admire Ghana.
    Some African Parliaments have come to look at the design and everything. I believe that we should show that we are independent. We have a culture and so we should do away with things that make us a perpetually colonised people.
    We have to make sure that we modernise the dress code of our Supreme Court Judges and the other Judges. This must be emphasised.
    My worry has to do with C.I. 78, which is mentioned in the Committee's Report. That was the case on the creation of new districts in 2012.
    There were cases sent to the Supreme Court on more than three occasions. Yet, when this C.I. was passed, subsequently the fisherman from Winneba said that the District Assemblies Elections should be postponed because he was prevented from filing, and that was wrong.
    When it was pointed out to the Supreme Court that there was C.I. 78, they said it was a phantom law and they could not find it out. As a result, if they had adverted their minds to the C.I., the outcome of that case would have been different and the country would not have gone through what it did in getting the District Assemblies Election held.
    So, these are issues that we would have to look at in approving the nominee.
    The nominee has demonstrated that she has experience in management. This is because, when one is a Chief Justice, one does not just look at legal issues; one also manages an array of courts. Therefore, the person must have the ability to manage. She proved from the experience that she has had in other places, such as the corporate world, that she would be capable of managing the court system in Ghana.
    She maintained her position in some of the controversial decisions that the court room made and tried to justify them. This included Dr Raymond Atuguba's case of making corruption allegations against the Judiciary.
    However, we all know that the most vilified body in the Constitution is the
    Parliament of Ghana. The fact that, people vilified us and generalised that people are corrupt, does not allow us to say that we would not deal with those people.
    So, the answer she gave, that it was because she generalised -- Why would they listen to her? That should not come from the Chief Justice; it should come from another person. The rights of people to be heard must be upheld and they should be heard before a conclusion is made.
    If I said that Judges take bribes, how is that a crime? Is the person accusing me of making that allegation capable of showing me that there is no single Judge who is corrupt?
    So, all of us need to take this matter into account. People make unsubstantiated allegations and when we institute action against them, they carry it along. We have to look at what we are doing. If we want to be sincere to ourselves, people must watch their tongues, look at it and the right to speak should not be silenced by the highest court of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I read 10:55 a.m.
    “The Committee observed that given her high standard of compe- tence and integrity, forth- rightness and independence of thought, astuteness and in-depth appreciation of the law, fairness and selflessness, the nominee, Her Lordship Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo qualifies to serve as the Chief Justice…”.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I read 11:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I totally agree with that.
    Mr Speaker, I have had a personal experience with the Chief Justice, having been privileged to practise before her in the Supreme Court.
    One of the things she aptly stated about her attitude and philosophy, which is on page 7 of the Report, captures a very important aspect of her contribution to the Judicial system of Ghana. I refer to where she mentioned justice as her judicial philosophy.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader rightly acknowledged that. I agree with him to a certain extent, except when he said that he took that law as it was. He captured part of that.
    Justice Akuffo actually went beyond that to ensure that justice was not arrested by mere technicalities. That was the kind of trend we were struggling with, before her numerous and very insightful interventions, where courts looked more at procedural technicalities, and in doing so arrived at decisions that did not do justice.
    She was not just a mere positivist, as the Hon Minority Leader would want us to believe. She had a good and elegant balance that makes her such a great judge. I believe it is a great blessing to Ghana that we have had her to occupy this unique position.

    Another aspect of her which I appreciate had to do with delays which are on page 4 of the Committee's Report. If one appeared before her unprepared, she was not prepared to grant any useless adjournments. Subsequent in life, many
    Mr Speaker 11:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Ampem?
    Mr Thomas Nyarko Ampem (NDC -- Asuogyaman) 11:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would also want to contribute to the Motion on the nomination of Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo for Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, Justice Akuffo has been nominated to take over from another woman and for me, it goes a long way to show our credentials as a country on gender issues and it speaks loud to everybody in this country that it does not matter one's gender, but if one works very well and if one is competent and proves himself or herself in any sphere of life, one could rise up to the highest position in any organisation that one would find himself or herself in.
    Mr Speaker, it is also interesting that Justice Akuffo would be in a unique position to dispel any perception about partisanship at the apex court.
    Interestingly, this particular person was nominated by a President of one of the major political parties to the Supreme Court and a President of the other major political party has further elevated her to head the Supreme Court. So, she is in a unique position to prove that her allegiance could only be to Ghana and not to any of the parties or the Governments that have projected her to any position. So we call on her to bear this in mind and make sure that, in doing her job as the Chief Justice, she would continue to place Ghana first.
    Mr Speaker, when I listened to the Hon Nominee during the vetting, I realised that, she knew what she was about. I found some things about her responses particularly in some of the thorny issues which she decided to stay away from. If she would head the apex court, she would not want her position on certain critical issues known.
    But on the issue of lawyers adver- tising, she stated clearly how distasteful that was to her, and because there was an issue pending in that area, some of us said that she was not quite consistent in her position on some of these issues.
    Mr Speaker, on page 6 of the Committee's Report, her position on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was something I was so happy about -- that we cannot solve criminal issues with an ADR but all other civil cases were things that we could.
    I really liked her position on that and I would also call on her to continue the support for the individuals, opinion leaders, chiefs and other influencial people
    Mr Speaker 11:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Dr Akoto Osei?
    Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation (Dr Anthony Akoto Osei) (MP) 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I normally would not want to say anything on matters of the Judiciary, but I am so impressed with the Hon nominee's Curriculum Vitae (CV) and that I would need to say something about. It is not because of the legal background, but because of the management experience.
    Mr Speaker, she would be a manager of the Judiciary and if we look at the fact that she served two statutory terms as the vice president and subsequently as the president, one would know that she has managerial experience and that is a quality that we should admire.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee in reading the CV said that the Hon nominee went to Cambridge, England. I would want to remind him that it was not Cambridge, England but Cambridge, Massachusetts where she got her LLM. [Interruption.] It was in the Committee's Report, but the Hon Chairman said “Cambridge, England” and so, I would want to correct him.
    Mr Speaker, if we read pages 7 and 20 in the Committee's Report together --

    Mr Speaker, I do not know if the heading should be, “Discrepancy in the date of her appointment to the Supreme Court”. This is because there is no discrepancy, especially given what is said on page 20 of the Report. So, I do not know why we should have a subject matter that talks about a discrepancy. There is no discrepancy.

    Mr Speaker, in fact, what it has exposed is that, somebody in 1995 made the mistake in officially reporting in the Hansard and it has exposed this Parliament. Her letter of appointment is clearly dated, 30 th

    November, 1995. So, how somebody in Parliament at that time, officially reported otherwise in the Hansard, we should go back and investigate.

    Mr Speaker, I believe that, if I had the permission, I would ask the Hon Chairman to remove the title that says, “Discrepancy in the date of her appointment to the Supreme Court”. This is because somebody reading this may believe that there is a discrepancy. It is not.

    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader, in talking about the election petition, treaded on a path that he should be careful about. There is judicial independence. Just like we do not want anybody outside Parliament to tell us when to finish our legislative agenda, we should not talk about giving them 60 to 90 days to come to a decision. That would be usurping the powers of the Judiciary.

    When something comes here, nobody tells us when to finish our agenda. So, why do we propose to ask them to finish the election petition by 90 days? I believe we should thread very carefully.

    Mr Speaker, she happens not to be here during the election petition. I hazard to guess where she would have voted and maybe, things may have been different.

    Mr Speaker, finally, I believe the boldest Statement she made which we should all support is, “one district one court”.

    Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Dr A. A. Osei.
    Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC — Pusiga) 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, let me first of all congratulate the Committee for a good work done before I congratulate nominee Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo for the opportunity given her.
    Mr Speaker, this is another big milestone in the lives of the women of Ghana. A woman has just gone on retirement and another has come on. We thank God for this particular appointment again.
    Mr Speaker, this goes to tell the women of Ghana that women have got the potential and that all we need to do is to have the competence, and that we should try as much as we can to persevere. If we do so, it would go a long way to help us. If we do not have the competence, we would surely not be given the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, the Chief Justice nomi- nated has shown her competence. Her responses to some of the questions that were put to her are so good and we only hope that she would make sure that she puts them in place.
    The issue of establishing traditional judiciaries, where they would be able to take up some of the issues is a very good idea, which she said she would consent to when it comes to her attention.
    I believe that it is a good idea because, already the traditional authorities are people who are helping to execute some of these problems. That can be found on page 5 of the Report, under, Traditional Authorities and the delivery of Justice.
    Mr Speaker, for me, the only thing that needs to be done is that they should follow the rules and regulations that they need to abide by, in order that, justice is delivered at the traditional level. There are some petty cases that actually do not need to travel far to the courts and linger there for years.
    For instance, someone goes to steal a bunch of plantain, a goat or maybe, guinea fowl and he is sent to court and the person languishes in detention for years when the problem could have been solved at the level of the traditional authorities.
    These are some of the cases that when ceded to the traditional authorities and terms and the conditions are properly put in place, would go a long way to also help us get rid of some of the cases that come to the courts and just go to fill the prisons.
    Mr Speaker, when she was asked about the issue of sanitation, she stated that “sanitation has been one of the greatest problems that we have had in this country”. We have even mentioned the fact that, if we could get — In the past, we used to have “Nsamansaman” or those called ‘The sanitation officers' — to go round.
    If we have these committees established, and they have the power,
    Ms Barbara Asher Ayisi (NPP — Cape Coast North) 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity. I wish to congratulate the nominee, most especially, she being an old girl of Wesley Girls High School — [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, in an era where we are all concerned about the high level of filth in our country, I was happy when the nominee assured the committee that, given the nod, she would facilitate the establishment of sanitation tribunals as envisaged under the Local Governance Act (2016) (Act 936).
    Mr Speaker, if we all approve of her nomination, she would be able to enforce the sanitation laws which would go a long way in making our country very clean and of course, attract more tourists into our country.
    Thank you.
    Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (NDC -- Ho West) 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion and to also congratulate Justice Sophia A. Boafoa Akuffo for her nomination as the Chief Justice of the land.
    Mr Speaker, the judicial philosophy is justice and we all know that justice is what we are looking for in this country. I was expecting the nominee to give an innovation what would be done when she becomes the Chief Justice, especially
    looking at the perception we all have concerning judicial corruption.
    Mr Speaker, corruption, as we all know, in this country has permeated every fibre of our lives. If the perception about the Judiciary is that they are corrupt, I was expecting the nominee to tell the Committee that these or that are the things that she would do to stem out corruption from the Judicial Service of Ghana.
    Unfortunately, as I read through your Committee's Report, I did not see that. I only saw that what is happening would continue to happen -- that it is a perception and that she would do her best. I was expecting her to come up with something concrete.
    Mr Speaker, the other issue has to do with Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which we all know helps in justice delivery in the country. I wish she would take a bold step to make sure that most cases that come to court would go through the ADR centre than the normal judicial process. It would take some load off from the heavy schedules that the Judicial Service carries when we take most cases of the Judicial Service through ADR centres.
    Mr Speaker, the last thing I would want to talk about and for which I applaud her is accepting that it is the traditional authorities that do most of the cases for us. She says that she would encourage the traditional authorities to continue to do their work, but also plead that, Parliament would bring up a law that would take some of the issues of justice to the traditional authorities.
    Mr Speaker, it is good that when one goes to our various traditional councils, one sees most chiefs and traditional
    authorities handling cases that we all know bring speedy trials and justice to the people. That is what we are looking for, so that the saying that ‘justice delayed is justice denied' would be a thing of the past as we all want justice to be seen done and not delayed.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Members, order!
    Hon Member, you may conclude.
    Mr Bedzrah 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am one of the few people who thought that, Justice Dotse who hails from the Volta Region would be given the opportunity. But looking at the vetting, I have noticed that Justice Akuffo has recused herself worthy and she would do very well when she gets to the Bar.

    Mr Speaker, thank you.

    Dr A. A. Osei — rose --
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am rising to seek your guidance.
    Mr Speaker, a certain action happened recently -- [Interruption].
    Mr Speaker, the action appeared to be a symbolic crossing of carpet and I just need your guidance. Dr Clement Apaak rose and crossed the carpet in front of the Mace and went back. So, I wonder if it is proper. [Interruption.] [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Patrick Boamah?
    Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah (NPP -- Okaikoi Central) 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the floor. In so doing, I would state what Justice Edward Wiredu cited in the case of Morkor Y. Kuma (No. 1) -- 1999/2001 Ghana Law Report.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I read 11:25 a.m.
    “I have had the privilege to read before-hand the able and learned opinion about to be read by my sister Akuffo JSC. I agree with her reasons and conclusion that the plaintiff's action be dismissed and I have nothing more useful to add.”
    Mr Speaker, this is a landmark decision which was written by the Chief Justice nominee in 1999 when she took a bold decision to lift the corporate veil to unmask fraudulent directors in this country who go behind companies and try to insulate themselves from criminal actions.
    Mr Speaker, since 1999, I have followed her decisions and I have come to the realisation that she always goes the extra
    mile to make certain bold decisions in the course of our jurisprudence.
    Mr Speaker, this House was bulged by the public last year for reviewing the fees paid by lawyers when filing fees. I would want to remind the Chief Justice about something which is under article 157 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and it reads:
    “The Rules of Court Committee shall, by constitutional instrument, make rules and regulations for regulating the practice and procedure of all our courts in Ghana.”
    Mr Speaker, it is my view that, when these Constitutional Instruments (C.I.s) are brought before us, the Judicial Service must take keen interest in them. This is because, when the filing fees were increased, the Bar came against this House for having increased the filing fees and what have you. But it is the Chief Justice who chairs that Committee that brings these rules to the House for its passage.
    Mr Speaker, I have also read certain decisions of the Chief Justice nominee and I would want to remind her of some of them as the House approves her. In Sam v Attorney-General (1999-2000) GLR 367, with your permission, I read:
    “It is therefore the intent of the Ghanaian Constitution, 1992, that, every citizen should play an active role in its enforcement so that, there would never again be in this country a conspiracy of silence that results in the emasculation of the citizenry and the destruction of constitu- tionalism.”
    Mr Speaker, I support the Motion and also congratulate the Chief Justice nominee and pray that, she goes to
    change the dwindling fortunes and perceptions at the Judiciary.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member. The last two.
    In fact, that would have made it twelve contributions on this matter. I must appreciate the fact that, Hon Members have gone straight to the point allowing twelve Hon Members to contribute, then, I would come to the Leadership.
    Hon Member, you would be the last from this side of the House.
    Mr Alhassan Suhuyini Sayibu (NDC -- Tamale North) 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    I am afraid, no. [Laughter.]
    Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:35 a.m.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this very important matter before the House.
    I do so by, first of all, praising the distinguished and venerable Justice Akuffo. As young men in law school, we got the opportunity to read some of her outstanding decisions and we have always been guided ever since.
    I would want to urge the Chief Justice nominee, who would be approved very soon as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, that the desire of the citizenry to have easy access to justice delivery in the country has begun in earnest and she would take the opportunity to continue, particularly by establishing High Courts
    in most municipalities and Circuit Courts in most of the circuits in the country, particularly bringing justice to the very doorsteps of the people in our very locality by ensuring that, district courts are established in all the 216 Districts in this country.
    Mr Speaker, may I further say that as lawyers, we are often fortified in the certainty of the jurisprudence that the Supreme Court exudes in all matters. About five or six years ago, the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court in matrimonial matters appears to be punning from the philosophy exuded in the case of Mensah v. Mensah to Ribeiro v. Ribeiro, we would want to urge her that the Supreme Court could bring a certain final position on the thinking of the Court when it comes to matrimonial matters that often find their way before the apex Court.
    Mr Speaker, when I first appeared before the Supreme Court, the feeling was as hallowed as when I first entered this Chamber. One felt as if one was before the highest judicial body in this country. I see that, she is about a few years to be 70 but she tells the story that even as a young person -- [Interruption].
    This means that she has been at the Supreme Court for about 25 years or more and it is very important that, when one works hard as a young person, one would find himself at the apex court and does not really have to go through the mill to rise from the district court, circuit Court, High Court, Courts of Appeal to the Supreme Court and that, if one is able to stay at the Supreme Court and work, then one can distil the law properly.
    Mr Speaker, I would also want to urge her that there are attempts to bring the appellate processes of adjudication to the doorsteps of the people, so, she must continue the efforts to establish Courts
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much. Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development?
    Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Hajia Alima Mahama)(MP) 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion and to commend the Committee for the detailed and crisp Report.
    Mr Speaker, in the last 15 years or so, the nation has seen a woman at the leadership of the three arms of government. I believe it is becoming a tradition and it is a tradition that the nation should welcome, not only welcome but seek to sustain, so that in all the
    processes and governments that we would have from time to time, would always ensure that there is a woman in the leadership of the three arms of government.
    Indeed, I believe Ghana is now moving away from the rhetoric of gender issues and actually taking action to ensure gender equality.
    Mr Speaker, I know the Hon nominee and I would want to bear witness that she is awesome and would deliver.
    Mr Speaker, I take note of the Committee's Report on page 9, where the Hon Nominee assured the Committee that when approved, all districts without courts in the country would be given ultra-modern courts to ensure justice delivery at the district level. All our actions are acted out at the local level. So, having the courts working at the district level would actually bring justice to the doorsteps of the people.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon nominee had been the President of the African Court on Human Rights. In fact, she moved from membership to Vice President and later served as President of the African Court on Human Rights.
    I know the Hon nominee has a rich knowledge on social legislation. It is my expectation and hope that, she would push the frontiers of social legislation and human rights regime in this country through the kind of actions and judgements that would be taken in the courts. Judgements that would be taken should reflect issues of social vulnerability and gender equality.
    We have had instances in Ghana where our courts have pushed for gender issues, especially, in the distribution of property on the dissolution of marriage. The Supreme Court has helped to push this
    action and it is my expectation that being at the helm of affairs, she would push the envelope of social legislation so that we see more social actions and decisions taken in our court system that would allow for lower courts to follow suit through the precedents of judgements and allow social legislations to be part of our judicial system.
    Mr Speaker, Wesley Girls' Senior High School (SHS) has done it again. [Interruption] -- First female Chief Justice -- Wesley Girls' SHS, second female Chief Justice -- Wesley Girls' SHS. [Hear! Hear!] -- We should applaud Wesley Girls' SHS. I am so happy that I can share in this aspect with her.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Alima, I knew you would land on Wey Gey Hey. [Laughter.]
    Hon Leadership?
    Is there nothing from the Minority? We start from the Minority, so, I just want to make sure --
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given me to also make some few contributions on the Motion to approve the President's nominee to the high office of the Chief Justice.
    Mr Speaker, first of all, I congratulate the Hon Nominee for her nomination to such a high office of the land -- being the number four person of the Republic of Ghana, in terms of hierarchy, is not a cheap job.
    Mr Speaker, going through the Report, I have seen a lot of remarks and answers that testify that the Hon Nominee is more than qualified for such a position.
    Mr Speaker, but there are some concerns that have been raised in the Report. I would just like to pick two and comment on them.
    On page 19 of the Report, we have ‘poor court infrastructure' and the quality of court rooms. When I came to this House in 2009, I was privileged to be an Hon Member of the Judiciary Committee, and we embarked on a nationwide tour to inspect some of the facilities of the Judicial Service. When we were shown some of the court rooms, most especially the High Court buildings, that these were the houses where justice and redress were sought, we were shocked.
    In this day and time that we talk of E-Judiciary and E-Parliament, if we compare the electronic facilities used in certain court rooms to other facilities that we visited, the facilities in our courts, call for rapid rehabilitation and renovation.
    Mr Speaker, one of the petitions that was put before the Committee when we embarked on this tour was that, the District Assembly system must also partner the Judiciary in the provision of facilities or court rooms in the various Assemblies.
    Mr Speaker, this calls for the reason that in 2010 or 2011, His Excellency the late Prof. Atta Mills had to partner the Judiciary, and sought for loans from Fidelity Bank to make sure that 34 court rooms that had been on paper for so long a time, had to be constructed. I congratulate this House that when the facility came, we expedited action and ensured that the loan was approved.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 11:45 a.m.

    When we go to Tema Station right now to see the buildings there, they call for much attention. Mr Speaker, this is why I would also call on His Excellency the President to also ensure that we put the poor court infrastructure and quality of court rooms high on the agenda and ensure that, we develop rapidly. If we want to see serious developments in Ghana, we must take the Judiciary very seriously. There cannot be a good judicial system without good buildings.

    Mr Speaker, that is why I call on the State to make sure that, we seek another facility; if it is not for all the lower courts, especially the High Courts, so that we improve upon their facilities. This would go a long way for us to do away with the old ones.

    Mr Speaker, the second point I would go to, is politicisation of the Judiciary. The answer given by the Hon nominee goes a long way to make sure that the Judiciary gains the confidence the public has in them. Normally, when one is in Government or Opposition, the Judiciary turns to be the referee. Whoever is affected by any case would run to the Judiciary. Therefore, we may do our politics effectively if the Judiciary functions very well. I, therefore, call on everybody that we can do our politics, but we should not take it to the doorsteps of the Judiciary.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.

    I, once again, congratulate the Hon nominee for her elevation to that high office, and call on every Hon Member in this House to give the Report an approval.
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a brief remark. First of all, I would also want to lend my voice of support and to urge Hon Colleagues to approve of this Report from the Appointments Committee.
    Mr Speaker, I think it is important to set the records straight that, the Constitution provides that, in the absence of the President, it is the Vice President who assumes the role of President and also, the Speaker, in the absence of the two, holds the fort.

    Mr Speaker, the Constitution does not provide that, unless we want to make a rapid incision into the Constitution, I do not have any problem at all, Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you are still on the floor, you may continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we should also commend the Appointments Committee for acting so timeously. Our Standing Orders provide in Order 172(4) that, when matters have gone before Committees, that is the Appointments Committee; they should report within three days.
    Mr Speaker, we finished this hearing on Friday and today is Monday, just one working day after they finished, they have been able to deal with this and submitted a very good Report that is well written.
    The Hon Minority Leader, in his contribution, related to article 64(1) of the Constitution which deals with --
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, now the Majority bench is having a double bite at the cherry. Is that the situation? Is the Hon Majority Leader for which matter, the Majority side of the House having a double bite at the cherry? I saw your counterpart standing, so that we do not have Leader-for-Leader --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that, he wanted to come on a point of information or whatever. This is because, he knows that in conformity with Standing Order 86(4), he cannot have a second chance. He could have seconded the Motion and sat down and come back.
    Mr Speaker, once he did not lend himself to that option, he cannot have a second bite and he knows that. That is why he did not come. I would want to believe that he wanted to come on a point of information --
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, I gave the Majority bench the opportunity and I would like to end there, please.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Is it the case that the Speaker is urging that I cannot speak?
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, I did not hear you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not hear what you said. I am asking whether the appeal is that I should not contribute. If it is so --
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you may go on.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much. The point that the Hon Minority Leader made with respect to article 64(1) is very germane; it has to do with election petitions relating to the conduct of presidential elections.
    Mr Speaker, in this House, in the year 1998, we related to this same matter in the case involving Hon Isaac Amoo and Hon Rebecca Adotey, which had gone to the High Court and had been pronounced in favour of Hon Amoo. Hon Rebecca Adotey appealed against the ruling from the court and the appeal was never heard for two years to the extent that even though Hon Amoo was pronounced as the legitimate winner, he never assumed his seat in this House.
    So, it is important that we attach much seriousness to the issue raised by the Hon Minority Leader -- that we should have a determination or closure to this matter. Mr Speaker, he said three months, and that is exactly what we advocated for in 1998, which the Attorney-General then refused to accept. He said that any future government could cause an amendment to the Constitution, but he was not in the position to do that.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that the time has come for us as a House and indeed, as a country, to reflect on this matter. It cannot go on indefinitely. This nation was saved by what was done by the Supreme Court in 2013, when within a defined period they were able to deal with the petition that went to the Supreme Court.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know you would accommodate the Hon Chairman --
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, after you, then the Hon Chairman of the Committee, the Hon First Deputy Speaker.
    Mr Iddrisu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, mine is to just respond to the Hon Majority Leader for the records. I have seen him make some efforts to correct the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo on a matter of law.
    Mr Speaker, you are a respected lawyer. The Hon Majority Leader must know the principle of law -- ejusdem generis -- when the Hon Deputy Majority Leader stated that -- is a known rule of statute; persons of the same kind. If the Constitution says that, in the absence of the President, then the Vice President, and in the absence of the Vice President, then the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament. It is only ejusdem generis that, in the absence of the three of them, the most significant person of the Republic is the Chief Justice who could act instead.
    Mr Speaker, it need not to be provided expressly in the Constitution, but in the event that all the three are out of the jurisdiction then, by the principle of law of necessity, and to avoid a vacuum in this country, the rule would be applicable.
    Mr Speaker, so, he should stop embarrassing the young female lawyer unnecessarily -- she is on a point of law and correct on a matter of law. Even though I know that if I am dissatisfied, I would know the appropriate forum to go to.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, when I was contributing, I hinged my intervention on article 60 (11) which is very unequivocal about this. If the Hon Minority Leader is proffering an amendment to it, then he should say so -- [Interruption.]
    I am telling him about what obtains in article 60 (11) and unless he could prove me otherwise -- Mr Speaker, with respect to him, there is no value addition in what he said.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you and I only pray that the -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Leadership, the Hon First Deputy Speaker has the floor.
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I only pray that this latter controversy does not overshadow this whole exercise that we have been engaged in. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank Hon Members for their contribution and in particular the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation for drawing my attention in referring to England instead of the United States. He has shown that he is even monitoring us in the Chamber and that is a very good exercise.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank particularly, the Hon Members of the Committee, the Clerks and the Leadership
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon First Deputy Speaker.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    The House has accordingly approved the nomination of Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, Justice of the Supreme Court, for her appointment as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana in accordance with article 144 of the

    Hon Majority Leader, any indication?
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have indeed, exhausted the Business for the day. The only other outstanding matter is the meeting of the Committee on Roads and Transport. Other than that, we have exhausted the agenda for today. And that being the case, I would want to move that this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 12.00 noon.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:15 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.18 p.m. till Tuesday, 20th June, 2017 at 12.00 noon.