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Supreme Court not crowded – Justice Kwofie

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On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, he delivered these remarks during his vetting before the Appointments Committee of Parliament. Justice Kwofie informed the Committee that, about a week ago, during an encounter with a Supreme Court Judge, she said that on that particular day, she had to deal with around 29 cases and had to sit from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. He emphasised that whenever the subject of the number of Supreme Court justices came up, Ghanaians would constantly suggest that the country take a cue from the United States. However, Ghana's legal system differed from that of the United States.

Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Supreme Court judge candidate, has dismissed worries over the Apex Court’s overcrowding.

According to him, the volume of work at the Supreme Court necessitates the addition of extra hands to alleviate the pressure on the incumbent judges.

“If you look at the 12 that we have now, they are actually two panels only; five, five. There are only two judges extra. If they are dealing with a constitutional matter, seven. So with the 12, we actually have only one panel – five more. So the 15 is clearly, as far as I am concerned, I don’t understand what is meant by packing. It is not packing. 

“As of now the three that you are talking about, they are retired, in fact four retired. So if you leave the three who are retired, you have to fill the vacancy otherwise the current crop of Supreme Court Judges very soon they will start falling off given the volume of work,” he said.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, he delivered these remarks during his vetting before the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

Justice Kwofie informed the Committee that, about a week ago, during an encounter with a Supreme Court Judge, she said that on that particular day, she had to deal with around 29 cases and had to sit from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

He emphasised that whenever the subject of the number of Supreme Court justices came up, Ghanaians would constantly suggest that the country take a cue from the United States. However, Ghana’s legal system differed from that of the United States.

“Every case that starts from the High Court now, about 90% end up at the Supreme Court because our system, we seem to have an open door policy,” he said.

As a result of this, he emphasised that 15 judges on the Apex Court were not a large number.

On November 10, President Akufo-Addo appointed three Court of Appeal Justices to fill the Supreme Court vacancies created by the obligatory retirement of three Justices earlier this year.

They are Justice Henry Kwofi, Yaw Asare Darko, and Adjei Frimpong, all of whom serve on the Court of Appeal.

Following that, the Minority in Parliament accused President Akufo-Addo of abusing the constitution to bolster the Supreme Court.

On the floor of Parliament on Friday, November 10, South Dayi MP Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor voiced his disappointment with the appointment, noting that there were no openings on the Supreme Court to fill.

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Supreme Court finds decision to compensate presidential wives unlawful

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Among other things, the NPP Chairman requested a "Declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office Holders." The writ said that

The Supreme Court ruled that Parliament’s decision to provide wages to the president and vice president’s spouses was unconstitutional.

According to the Supreme Court, the approval violates the 1992 Constitution since the first and second ladies are not public officeholders.

This comes after Kwame Baffoe, also known as Abronye, the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), launched a lawsuit against the Attorney General in July 2021.

Among other things, the NPP Chairman requested a “Declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office Holders.”

The writ said that“… Per Articles 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana: Parliament, cannot on its own accord, initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments which would necessarily be paid from public funds, without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and duly passed into law.”

Again, the action requested the court to declare that Parliament’s consent to pay wages to the First and Second Ladies is inconsistent with Article 71 clauses 1 and 2 of the Republic of Ghana’s 1992 constitution, and hence invalid, void, and unenforceable.

A seven-member Supreme Court bench chaired over by Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo granted three of the four reliefs requested by the Bono Regional Chairman.

Mr Abronye’s fourth relief, requesting that the Court declare that parliament cannot initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments, which must be paid from public funds, unless a bill to that effect is drafted, introduced by the government, and duly passed into law, was not granted.

Although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for South Dayi Constituency, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, filed a similar suit, his reliefs, which centred on the recommendations of the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, were dismissed, with just one granted.

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Prison sentence begins immediately Sedina Tamakloe arrives in Ghana

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Regarding the potential of her serving her jail sentence overseas owing to Ghana's terrible prison circumstances, the NPP member stated, "That is a point, but you cannot expect us to upgrade our prison conditions to the point where they have one person to a room with a TV set." Madam Tamakloe received a ten-year jail term for causing the state a financial loss of GHC90 million. Daniel Axim, the organization's former Operations Manager and collaborator, received a five-year prison sentence as well.

Kingsley Amoako-Boadu, a private legal practitioner, has stated that former Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) Sedina Tamakloe’s jail sentence will take effect as soon as she lands in Ghana.

He added that because she is not available within Ghana’s jurisdiction, the punishment can only begin once she comes.

“The jail term begins when she arrives in Ghana,” he explained on Key Points in April 2024.

Regarding the potential of her serving her jail sentence overseas owing to Ghana’s terrible prison circumstances, the NPP member stated, “That is a point, but you cannot expect us to upgrade our prison conditions to the point where they have one person to a room with a TV set.”

Madam Tamakloe received a ten-year jail term for causing the state a financial loss of GHC90 million. Daniel Axim, the organization’s former Operations Manager and collaborator, received a five-year prison sentence as well.

Madam Tamakloe was jailed in absentia while seeking court authorization to go to the United States for medical treatment.

Following the judgement, Deputy Attorney-General Alfred Tua-Yeboah stated that the state has begun proceedings to extradite the former MASLOC chief to Ghana to complete his sentence.

“We’ve started the processes and with this judgement, that is going to speed up the process. In Ghana we have various clauses, you can choose to just stay, but so far we have laws regulating how you can be extradited from one country to Ghana if there is a judgment like this one. Rest assured, she would be brought down and face justice,” he explained.

It would be recalled that speaking on the jailing of Sedina Tamakloe who was tried in absentia, on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Tuesday, April 16 Kpebu said “The main change we may face is prison conditions. INTERPOL will do their bit so that they will spread it all over the world, all the police agencies of all the countries in the world asking for her to be extradited to Ghana. But one of the key things we will be facing is the prison conditions in Ghana because I am aware in the past certain countries have refused to extradite persons to Ghana because of our very inhuman prison conditions, so that is the biggest challenge we will have when it comes to extradition, but a lot of countries do extradite persons back to Ghana.”

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La Dadekotopon: Akufo-Addo’s driver files to enter the NPP parliamentary primary

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Solomon Kotey Niikio, the area's MCE, has also filed a candidature to run. Joseph Addo, President Akufo-Addo's driver for more than 20 years, claims to have contributed to the constituency's progress. "I have helped the youth in this area get jobs and employment in government agencies"

President Akufo-Addo’s personal driver has registered a nomination for the La Dedekotopon NPP Parliamentary primary on April 27, 2024.

Joseph Addo, who was vetted and certified by the party’s Greater Accra Elections Committee, claims he would win the seat back for the NPP.

“I was born and bred here in La, I have lived all my life here so I am not new in this constituency.”

The National Executive Committee of the NPP approved a primary in the constituency after the elected Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Gerald Joseph Tetteh, resigned for personal reasons.

Solomon Kotey Niikio, the area’s MCE, has also filed a candidature to run.

Joseph Addo, President Akufo-Addo’s driver for more than 20 years, claims to have contributed to the constituency’s progress.

“I have helped the youth in this area get jobs and employment in government agencies”

He goes on to say that, “Recently when the party needed an office space after the destruction of the old office, I personally worked to get a new office for the party” .

Joseph Addo feels confident in winning the primary on April 27th and the general election on December 7th.

Rita Naa Odoley Sowah of the NDC won the La Dedekotopon seat in the 2020 election, defeating the NPP.

The NPP hopes to reclaim the seat in the December elections.

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