Parliament has unanimously affirmed the nomination of four persons to the Supreme Court as Justices.
The four, Clemence Jackson Honyenuga and Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, Court of Appeal Judges, Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, private legal practitioner and Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, last week endured an average of three hours of vetting at the Joseph Osei-Owusu chaired Appointments Committee where their suitability to the apex court was scrutinised.
Presenting the 26th report of the Appointments Committee to the plenary of Parliament via a motion in Accra yesterday, Mr Osei-Owusu, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said the nominees have demonstrated that they merited the nomination.
“The Committee is satisfied that the nominees have exhibited character, competence, independent thinking and depth of knowledge of the law,” Mr Osei-Owusu, Member for Bekwai told the House.
The nominees, he said, assured the committee of their will to be above partisanship and interpret the law without fear or favour in the discharge of their duties.
The nominees further demonstrated to the committee that the Constitution being a living document would not be interpreted with their biases and that the spirit and letter of the law will prevail for the good of the citizenry, he reported.
“No evidence of corruption, incompetence or bias in the performance of the respective roles in the legal profession was brought before the Committee.
“The committee accordingly finds the nominees suitable to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Ghana,” he urged the House.
Seconding the motion, the Minority Leader and Ranking Member on the Committee, Haruna Iddrisu, described Prof. Mensah-Bonsu, as “brilliant at law” and someone who has demonstrated “wit and will” and contributed immensely to the criminal jurisprudence of the country.
He recounted Prof. Mensah-Bonsu’s service to the country dating from the National Reconciliation Commission to her most recent service to mother Ghana in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission which probed the gun violence that marred the January 31, 2019 by-election.
Calling on persons in public service to, at all times, uphold ethical standards in their work, Mr Iddrisu said nobody should hold anything against Justice Honyenuga after apologising at the committee for openly declaring support for President Akufo-Addo’s second term bid.
On Mr Kulendi, the Tamale South MP said the nominee has endeared himself to many in private legal practice, and “we, therefore, recommend his approval as a Justice of the Supreme Court.”
For Abuakwa South MP and Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, the quality of the nominees would go a long way to enhance justice delivery in the country.
North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, commended the nominees and advocated that they were given the freedom to espouse their personal beliefs in matters regarding gay rights, freedom of religion and human rights without such philosophies being held against them when they became justices of the Supreme Court.
Outlining the criteria for the selection of Supreme Court justices as codified in Article 128(4) of the 1992 Constitution, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu urged Parliament to be careful in using other yardstick in assessing the suitability or otherwise of a candidate to the apex court.
He was happy that after some misunderstanding which threatened the unanimous approval of Justice Honyenuga, the committee had come to a consensus that character, competence, independence of thought and depth of the knowledge of law should be the marking scheme for the nominees.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI