‘Chief Justice Georgina Wood is still at post’

The Judicial Service has denied rumours that the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, is on leave prior to retirement.

There are rumours the Chief Justice had been forced to take her accumulated leave pending her retirement when, indeed, she is to retire in 2017.

Those rumours have caused the Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu in the Central Region, Mr Alex Afenyo-Markin, to officially write to the Judicial Secretary, Mr Alex Opoku-Acheampong, to seek answers to the whereabouts of the Chief Justice.

In a June 1, 2016 response from the office of the Judicial Secretary to Mr Afenyo-Markin, the Judicial Service was emphatic that the Chief Justice was not on leave.

According to Mr Opoku-Acheampong, the Judicial Service had received Mr Afenyo-Markin’s May 31, 2016 letter seeking answers on behalf of his constituents.

“From our records, the honourable Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana is due to retire on June 8, 2017.

“She is currently at post and not on leave prior to retirement.

“There is no acting Chief Justice in the context referred to in his letter. Nobody has taken an Oath of Office as acting Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana,” the response noted.

Official Duty

According to the Judicial Secretary, Mrs Justice Wood is currently outside the country on official duty and in her absence, the most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Mr Justice William Atuguba, has been acting since May 25, 2016.

He said the Chief Justice was expected back in the country on Friday, June 3, 2016 to resume her official duties.

Status of CJ

Mr Afenyo-Markin, in his letter to the Judicial Secretary, wanted to know the status of the CJ “to put to rest rumours on the subject under reference”.

According to the MP, who doubles as a lawyer, he had received several letters from constituents, who he said were curious to know the status of Mrs Justice Wood.

He posed specific questions, which included whether or not Mrs Justice Wood was on leave prior to her retirement and if so, when she was due for retirement.

Another question posed by the lawyer was whether there was a possibility that Mrs Justice Wood would avail herself of Article 145 (4) of the 1992 Constitution should her retirement occurred anytime soon.

Article 145 (4) of the 1992 Constitution states that “notwithstanding that he has attained the age at which he is required by this article to vacate his office, a person holding office as a Justice of the Superior Court or Chairman of a Regional Tribunal may continue in office for a period not exceeding six months after attaining that age, as may be necessary to enable him to deliver judgement or do any other thing in relation to proceedings that were commenced before him previous to his attaining that age.”

More questions

Other questions posed by Mr Afenyo-Markin were “whether there is an acting Chief Justice and if so whether he/she has taken any Oath of Office as Chief Justice of the Republic.

“How many of the Supreme Court judges including her ladyship the Chief Justice are due for retirement either this year or 2017.”

The MP prayed for an expeditious response to his questions to satisfy what he termed the curiosity of his concerned constituents and the general public to bring the matter to a close.

But the Judicial Secretary’s response to him puts to rest the issue on whether or not the Chief Justice was on terminal leave.

By: Graphic Online/Ghana

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