President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sworn into office, Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo as the 15th Chief Justice of Ghana.
Nominated by President Akufo-Addo in April 2023 for the position, Chief Justice Torkornoo replaces Justice Anin Yeboah, who was appointed on 7th January, 2020 and retired on Wednesday, 24th May, 2023.
She is the third woman to occupy the position of Chief Justice after Justice Theodore Woode (June 2007 to June 2017), and Justice Sophia Akuffo (June 2017 to December 2019).
This is the third time, in less than seven (7) years, that, President Akufo-Addo have had the privilege to appoint the Chief Justice of Ghana.
Parliament of Ghana on June 7th, 2023 approved the nomination of Justice Gertrude Torkornoo as the country’s Chief Justice after the Appointments Committee unanimously endorsed her nomination following her vetting on 26th May, 2023.
Born on 11th September, 1962, Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo (Mrs), whose judicial journey spans over 19 years, joined the Judicial Service in 2004 as one of the first Justices of the Commercial Division of the High Court.
She was nominated to the Supreme Court in November 2019, received Parliamentary approval in December 2019, and sworn into office on December 17, 2019.
At the swearing-in ceremony at the Banquet Hall of the Jubilee House, Monday, President Akufo-Addo administrated the Oath of Allegiance, the Judicial Oath, and the Oath of Secrecy, and subsequently presented to Justice Torkornoo the instrument of appointment.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo commended Justice Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse and Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie for holding the fort, though briefly, during the retirement of Chief Justice Anin Yeboah.
President Akufo-Addo expressed confidence that Justice Gertrude Torkornoo will be an effective leader of the Judiciary, guard jealousy it’s independence, bring honour to the Judiciary, and the country, and a wordy successor to Justice Anin Yeboah.
The President said he experts “decency, discipline, fairness, hard work, deep seated respect for the rule of law, and the continuing modernisation of judicial activity to be the hallmark of your era as Chief Justice,” he told the new Chief Justice Torkornoo.
For the growth of the nation, President Akufo-Addo emphasized that it is critical ‘we have a Judiciary that commands the respect of the people by the quality of its delivery of justice, as well as the comportment of its Judges.”
That, the President indicated is vitally important as “we have Judges who are honest, possess integrity and the sound knowledge of the law.”
President Akufo-Addo maintained that the Judiciary has the onerous responsibility of being the bulwark of the defence of the liberty and rights of Ghanaians.
That, the Judiciary can only carry out that task when it has the unalloyed respect.
The President said in situation where Judges proffer Judgements, on the basis of the decisions from the lower courts and cite them as law is not acceptable, and even less so when Judges cite no authority at all for their rulings and give Judgements, and give orders without reasons.
He urged Judges to demonstrate high sense of integrity, “must be learned, no your case law, and ensure your decisions and judgements are properly motivated.
“You have a big duty to demonstrate integrity, decency, fairness, in all your dealings if public support for the judiciary is to be maintained,” he told the Chief Justice.
President Akufo-Addo commended the Council of State and Parliament for discharging their legitimate responsibilities within Six (6) months, in the approval process of the new Chief Justice.
He said the cooperation among the three arms of Government, particularly the Executive and the Legislature enhances the respect and dignity for the institutions of state, as well as accelerate the country’s development.
The President urged the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Judicial Council, the Ghana Bar Association and the Judicial Service to offer their maximum support to Chief Justice Torkornoo as she discharges her constitutional mandate.
President Akufo-Addo also commended former Chief Justice Anin Yeboah for expanding the frontiers of Judicial Independence as well as leading the biggest expansion of Court infrastructure across the country.
On his part, Chief Justice Torkornoo thanked the President for the confidence repose in her for nominating her for the position, in consultation with the Council of State and the unanimous approval of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Chief Justice said she will ensure that Judges are accountable for their stewardship pursuant to the Constitution and the rules of Court.
Chief Justice Torkornoo also appealed for an increase in the budget of the Judiciary to enhance and fastrack the implementation of the digitization of Courts processes, as well as the continuous expansion of Court infrastructure.
The occasion was witnessed by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Also at the ceremony was the Chairperson of the Council of State, Chief Justices—Justice Theodore Woode and Justice Sophia Akuffo, Justice Anin Yeboah, Justice Dotse, the Supreme Court Justices, members of the Ghana Bar Association, family members among others.
Other dignitaries include the Clergy, Justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Ghana Bar Association, and other high profile dignitaries.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD