Govt Clears Air on Marful-Sau, Dordzie appointment

Government has dismissed claims that the appointment of Justices Samuel Marful-Sau and Agnes Dordzie is a reward for their recommendation for the removal from office of the Electoral Commission(EC) Chair, Mrs Charlotte Osei.

The two judges were on Tuesday, July 3, 2018  nominated as Supreme Court Justices by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

A statement to Parliament seeking the approval of four nominees including, Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey and Nene Amegatcher, and signed by the president said the nominations were made on the advice of the Judicial Council in consultation with the Council of State.

However, it I has been suggested that the nomination of Justices Marful-Sau and Dordzie who were part of the five-member committee tasked to investigate allegations of misconduct by the EC Chair Charlotte Osei and her two deputies –  Amadu Sulley and Georgina Amankwa, raises questions.

 

However, the elevation of judges who have sat on cases with huge public interest is not new in Ghana.

Former Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, was appointed in 2007 by former president John Agyekum  Kufuor a year after she was charged to investigate the disappearance of 76 parcels of cocaine aboard the shipping vessel MV Benjamin on 26 April 2006.

 

In May 2015, former president John Mahama also appointed Justice Yaw Apau to the Supreme Court a year after he investigated a controversial matter of the payment of judgment debts as a Sole Commissioner.

 

Deputy Chief of Staff, Abu Jinapor said  the nominations had absolutely nothing to do with the work of the judges – who were Court of Appeal judges – on the Chief Justice’s Committee that investigated and recommended the removal of the three heads of the elections governing body.

 

Reacting to the allegation yesterday, he explained that Justice Marful-Sau and Justice Dordzie were promoted purely on merit.

“There is absolutely no relationship at all and be rest assured that president Akufo-Addo will never make appointments based on how judges determine cases.

 

“He is a lawyer of high standing. A man of extraordinary reputed integrity and will discharge his constitutional responsibilities with the highest ethical standards and therefore will never engage in such things. It is most unfortunate that that impression but the facts do not support that suggestion at all,” he said of Justice Marful Sau.

 

Mr Jinapor further stated that all four Justices are eminently qualified to serve on the apex court, stressing that “Justice Marful-Sau is a very distinguished judge with high integrity and has been in the court of Appeals for several years…absolutely qualified to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Same for Justice Agnes Dordzie and also for Prof Kotey and Nene Amegatcher, who was one-time president of the Ghana Bar Association.”

 

The president, he said, acted in accordance with law and it was most unfortunate that the impression was being created that he did otherwise.

 

Mr Jinaopor explained that the processes for the appointment of the justices started early this year and although this should have remained undisclosed, the gravity of the allegations required  that that information was put out to establish the frivolity of the claims.

 

A letter dated February 13, 2018, and signed by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo following a meeting of the Judicial Council nominated the justices for the president’s approval, he revealed.

 

“It goes on to say that the decision was taken after the three nominating blocks – the Chief Justice, Attorney General and the Bar – had agreed on the nominees.

“So you will see from this letter that as far back as February, the Chief Justice wrote on behalf of the Judicial Council to the president recommending these four persons for appointment to the Supreme Court,” Mr Jinapor added.

 

The president then consulted the Council of State in March requesting for counsel as required by law and subsequently approved the nominations following that advice, he said.

He added that “the processes to appoint these four persons to the Supreme Court had long been taken before the determination of this EC matter. It has absolutely no relation at all.”

 

Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH

Writer’s email: kofi.tawiah@todaygh.com

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