A member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) legal team, Abraham Amaliba, has raised issues of nepotism on the part of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for settling on Justice Sophia Akuffo as the next Chief Justice.
Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to appoint Justice Akuffo to take over from Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, who is retiring on 8 June.
Reacting to the imminent appointment, Mr Amaliba told Moro Awudu on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Friday, 12 May that Justice Akuffo might be biased towards the president because she trained as a lawyer at his chambers.
“Humans as we are, much as you are a professional in what you are doing, the likelihood of you exhibiting some bias towards a person whom you have worked with, who you are related to in terms of where you come from… it [increases] the fear of ordinary citizens that ‘I as an ordinary Ghanaian, if I have issues with either the president or with the attorney general, which is likely to happen and which happens where people are dissatisfied with decisions of the president or of the attorney general, it [increases] the fear that you may not get the justice that you are seeking for,” he stated.
But in a swift response, government communicator Nana Damoah refuted those claims. He said: “Those that have advanced that argument of relationship, I don’t think it holds.
“The president, for a lawyer of his standing, must have had a relationship with almost everybody at the bench. During the Supreme Court petition on the 2012 election for instance, they all sat in the same courtroom and exchanges were hard. He [Nana Akufo-Addo] is a lawyer, all of these Supreme Court judges had at some point in their careers been lawyers. They have collaborated on various issues. Unlike today where we have lots of lawyers, in the early ’60s and ’70s there were very few lawyers and they might have worked on cases together, they must have sat on various committees. So as a result of that appointments should not be made? I don’t think that holds any water.
“I do not think that this president would just make a decision on the whims of it that he would just get up and make a decision. He has considered a lot of things and I believe he has sought counsel in making this choice. Now what is important is that if the choice is confirmed, she would have to go through the processes for confirmation as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana. What I want all of us to focus this discussion on is, will she be able to do what we expect of a Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana to ensure that all of us are served Justice?”