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General News of Monday, 30 April 2007

Source: Daily Guide

Daily Guide: Kufuor Picks Georgina Wood

Accra (Daily Guide) -- President, John Agyekum Kufuor has settled on 60-year-old Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood nee Lutterodt, as the next Chief Justice (CJ) of Ghana.

DAILY GUIDE can also say without fear of contradiction that a letter was dispatched to the Council of State, stating the President’s decision, soon after the burial of Justice George Kingsley Acquah last Friday.

A former deputy superintendent and public prosecutor in the Ghana Police Service, Justice Wood, may perhaps make history as the youngest Chief Justice in the history of modern Ghana’s judiciary, aside being the first female to climb that ladder.

“The Chief Justice is appointed by the President of Ghana, acting in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of the Parliament of Ghana,” the 1992 constitution states.

Article 128 (1) of the constitution as well stipulates that the Supreme Court is made up of the Chief Justice (CJ) and not less than nine other Justices.

It would be recalled that soon after the death of Justice Acquah, President Kufuor appointed Justice Francois Y. Kpegah as acting CJ. Since then, there has been vigorous speculation as to who would be the substantive CJ.

DAILY GUIDE on its part hit the nail right on the head when it named Georgina Wood as the favourite to take the highest position in the country’s Judiciary.

It also mentioned Justice Tawiah Modibo Ocran and Professor Samuel Date Baah as possible candidates for the top job.

However, the President’s eyes have fallen on Georgina, who will become the first female Chief Justice of Ghana at a relatively young age, when the council of state gives the President the green light and if she passes the acid test by the parliamentary vetting committee.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Georgina Wood was born on June 8, 1947. A choir leader at the Kingsway Gospel Centre Assemblies of God Church, Accra, she attended Bishop’s Girls and Methodist Schools, Dodowa, and Mmofraturo Girls School, Kumasi, from 1952 to 1960.

She had her LLB (Hons) from the University of Ghana, Legon in 1970 after completing Wesley Girl’s High School, Cape Coast in 1966.

Justice Wood made a 2nd Class Upper in the Bar Qualifying Exam, after which she took a six-month Post Graduate Officers Training Course at the Ghana Police College.

She joined the Judicial Service as a District Magistrate Grade ll and was later promoted to Grade l. After steering affairs at the Circuit and High Courts, Georgina was promoted to the Court of Appeal as the presiding judge in 1991.

With the passing away of George Acquah, the Supreme Court has been whittled down to 12 justices.

Currently, others on the bench are, Justices F. Y. Kpegah, William A. Atuguba, Sophia A. B. Akuffo, Theodore Adzoe, S. Allan Brobbey, Seth Twum, Julius Ansah, R. T. Aninakwa, Sophia Ophelia Adjeibea Adinyira and Samuel Kwadwo Asiamah.

As stated in a news report a few weeks ago: ‘In a country where 51 per cent of the population are women; where rural women account for about 70 per cent of total national food production, and only 19 out of the 230 Members of Parliament are women, the appointment of a woman CJ would seem to come as a very natural occurrence, and would be supported by several leading women's rights advocates.’

In the said report, Madam Justina Donkor, a legal practitioner, said: "I know Wood can handle the job just as the late Justice George Kingsley Acquah; this is evident in the excellent manner in which she conducted the commission of enquiry set up to investigate the narcotic case".

Justice Wood last year chaired the Georgina Wood committee that conducted enquiry into the disappearance of 77 packets of cocaine from the MV Benjamin vessel on April 26, 2006, as well as the recently destroyed 588kg cocaine seized from some Venezuelans at Mempeasem, East Legon.

It would also be recalled that Justice Wood was first nominated to the Supreme Court in 2003, at the time of the Fast Track Review Case, alongside the late Justice Afreh - a nomination she initially turned down.

She is an apostle of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

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