New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for the Efutu Constituency, Alex Afenyo Markin, is asking whether
According to him, his constituents who are bothered about the status of the Chief Justice, have asked him to inquire on their behalf.
Mr. Markin in a letter addressed to the Judicial Secretary, Alex Opoku Acheampong, called for an expeditious response to his question.
[contextly_sidebar id=”ysh3TMfNAb6jJDDrEesuUHLfte4b1IH6″]In the letter, he asked “whether or not Her Ladyship the Chief Justice is on leave prior to her retirement; And if so when is she due for retirement.”
“Whether there is an acting Chief justice and if so whether he/she has taken any Oath of Office as Chief Justice of the Republic,” the letter questioned.
Georgina Wood assumed office as the Chief Justice in July 2007.
Below is the letter from Afenyo Markin:
Status of the Office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana
I have received several letters from constituents who are curious to know the status of the incumbent chief justice of our dear country.
Specifically, the following questions have been asked for specific answers.
1.Whether or not Her Ladyship the Chief Justice is on leave prior to her retirement; And if so when is she due for retirement.
2. Whether if her retirement date occurs anytime soon there is a possibility that Her Ladyship will avail herself of Article 145 (4) of the 1992 Constitution.
3. Whether there is an acting Chief justice and if so whether he/she has taken any Oath of Office as Chief Justice of the Republic.
4. How many of the Supreme Court Judges including her ladyship the Chief Justice are due for retirement either this year or 2017.
Your expeditious response to the above shall be appreciated since same shall satisfy the curiosity of my concerned constituents and the general public as well as put to rest rumours on the subject under reference.
Acting Chief Justice must take Oath of Office
Afenyo Markin in an interview on Eyewitness News insisted that Ghanaians need to know whether there is an acting Chief Justice in the absence of Georgina Wood, adding that such person must be made to take the Oath of Office.
He said a Supreme Court judgment charged the Speaker of Parliament to take the Oath of Office as acting President in the absence of the President and his Vice, insisting that judgment strengthens his case.
“Fortified by the Supreme Court decision…when Atta Mensah and Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare sought certain reliefs with respect to the taking of oaths by Mr. Speaker in the absence of the President and his vice, we hold the view that we need to know whether there is an acting Chief Justice and whether that acting Chief Justice has taken any Oath of Office.”
“Assuming Justice Atugaba who is the senior most judge is performing that function and has not taken any oath of office, then, with the greatest respect and in all humility and fortified by the Supreme Court’s own decision then I beg to say that he is acting in that role unconstitutionally. Because he is no more performing his judicial functions, he is also supervising the judiciary, performing some other administrative functions, and that is a new function which requires him to take an oath as provided for by the Constitution.”
But a private legal practitioner, John Ndebugri, disagreed with Afenyo Markin saying the acting Chief Justice doesn’t need to take any oath of office before performing his duties.
Acting Chief Justice is only administrative
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Ndebugri explained that “the absence of the Chief Justice from the Republic and the fact that the most senior justice of the judiciary should act as Chief Justice is purely administrative, it is not judicial.”
“When it comes to judicial processes, there is a process by which they will empanel judges to sit on a matter so I don’t really see the point he is making. Administratively the most senior judge after the chief justice acts as the chief justice when the chief justice is not within the Republic. Justice Atuguba is the most senior judge after the chief justice so if he is acting, administratively, I don’t see the problem unless there is a case in which there is an empanelment and Justice Atuguba has exercised some discretion which departs from his mandate as the acting chief justice otherwise I don’t see the point.”
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana