An Appeal Court Judge, nominated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the Supreme Court, has emphasised the need to consolidate the gains made in the ongoing judicial reforms in Ghana.
Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo, said one of the huge reforms in the judicial system was the introduction of the Electronic Justice (E-Justice) System intended to improve the administration of justice by safeguarding the integrity of the court, save time and money for court users.
“I believe we have undertaken so many reforms now, and it’s important to consolidate the gains of those reforms before we add on more,” she said.
Justice Torkonoo made the statement when she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Tuesday for vetting to the Supreme Court.
President Akufo-Addo on November 12, 2019 nominated Justice Gertrude Torkornoo and two other judges, Justice Lovelace Johnson and Justice Mariama Owusu, both Appeal Court Judges for the Supreme Court.
The three were to replace Justices Vida Akoto-Bamfo and Sophia Adinyira, both of whom have retired as well as the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, who retires on December 20, 2019.
Per Article 144 Clause 1 of the 1992 Constitution, the President appoints a justice of the Supreme Court as Chief Justice, in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament.
Article 144 (2) also enjoins the President to consult with the Council of State and submit the names and curricula vitae of nominees for appointment to the Supreme Court.
After the completion of consultations with the Council of State, in accordance with Article 144 (2), the President then has to seek the approval of Parliament for the appointment of the nominees as justices of the Supreme Court.
Justice Torkonoo also announced that the judiciary was currently deploying a monitoring and evaluation software, adding what was needed to bring about the transformations was the cultural and attitudinal change in the way people do business at the court.
She further argued for restrictive timelines for some of the court processes, because some litigants were abusing the court procedures.
On a question of judges, officials and other staff receiving gifts, which may be seen as bribes, posed by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, Justice Torkornoo said given the nature of their work, members of the judiciary should avoid accepting gifts altogether, safe from perhaps one’s own child or immediate family member.
“Beyond a very close circuit, make it your practice to stay away from gifts altogether because of the judicial function. That is the situation with the judiciary for instance, so I think every institution should do that assessment,” she added.