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Meet Ghana’s next Chief Justice who is also a preacher

All things being equal, Supreme Court justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo will become Ghana’s Chief Justice to replace Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah.

Justice Anin-Yeboah proceeded on retirement on Wednesday, May 24 after turning 70. Another Supreme Court judge Jones Dotse is acting in his capacity until the approval of the nominated justice.

On Friday, May 26, Justice Torkornoo faced the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

She was drilled by members of the Committee in over four hours without a break.

There were several revelations during the vetting as she answered questions from the lawmakers.

One of such is her role in church.

Chairman of the Committee Joseph Osei-Owusu had sought to know if she might have been approached by any member of the church regarding her duties as a judge.

Justice Torkonoo admitted that, indeed, she is a lay preacher at the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Calvary Temple in Sakumono in the Greater Accra Region, but her duties at church do not influence her work as a judge.

“I am a lay minister and I am not a full-time pastor in the church,” she said.

Justice Torkornoo said she was a member of the church before becoming a High Court judge and “I don’t think that anybody has ever attempted to compromise my integrity”.

Earlier, she had told Greater Accra Minister Henry Quartey that her role in church is practised based on integrity and Biblical values but her role in court is about the law.

She had quoted John 3:16 as one scripture in the Bible that she loves in evangelism, which she has continued to do from time immemorial, she says.

Justice Torkornoo’s approval will, however, depend on the Minority members, who have vowed not to continue the process until the written judgement on the Supreme Court decision on the Assin North Member of Parliament is made public.

“The Minority had a reservation because you participated in the decision involving James Quayson. You did not give a reason for your judgment so as we speak we don’t know the basis on which the court arrived at that conclusion,” said Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Constituency Mahama Ayariga.

“There is uncertainty among us as MPs knowing that our Supreme Court is Constitutional Court that should guide us as a country as to how to run public affairs [but] we have reached a negotiated position with our colleagues. We will not vote on you today after this hearing when we finish today.

“When the Supreme Court gives the reason, we will have another opportunity to now assess you on the basis of the quality of the reasoning of the Court and then we can take the debate.”

 

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