With few days left for the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to bow out, a host of influential persons are jostling and lobbying for their preferred justices to be appointed to the high office of Ghana’s judiciary.
Former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani, insists the jostling notwithstanding, it remains the president’s prerogative to appoint a Chief Justice in consultation with the Council of State.
Two persons, Justices Jones Dotse and Anin Yeboah appear to be in pole position for the high office but only one can and may get the nod.
Having studied their profiles and contributions to Ghana’s judiciary, Kwadwo Mpiani, says if either of them is picked for the top job, he will be happy.
Article 144 (1) of the 1992 Constitution states: “The Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament.”
A former police prosecution officer, Georgina Theodora Wood was appointed in 2002, by the erstwhile Kufuor administration and has since endeared herself despite vehement criticisms from some supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress.
She has been ruthless in the fight against corruption and has on many occasions let down the gavel heavily on corrupt judges.
In 2015, some 34 judges in the lower and high courts were named in a judicial bribery scandal that shocked the country.
Some of the judges were captured on video trading justice for money, yam, goats and other material objects.
A committee was constituted by the Chief Justice which found the named justices guilty and were summarily dismissed on the orders of the president.
By law, the power to dismiss rests on the president.
Her committee also investigated the chairperson of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Laureta Lamptey against whom abuse of office and allegations of squandering of state funds had been made.
The committee found her guilty, recommended her dismissal and the president approved same.
After almost 15 years of service Mrs Wood is set for retirement and the race for the next Chief Justice has begun in earnest.
In eulogizing the attributes of the outgoing Chief Justice, Kwadwo Mpiani, said she was so qualified for the position that none spoke against her appointment; those who spoke, spoke for her.
Kwadwo Mpiani says president Nana Akufo-Addo will no doubt consult widely before sending his proposal for a new Chief Justice to the Council of State for advice and subsequent approval by Parliament.
Justice Anin Yeboah