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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Columnist: Ghanaian Chronicle

Did the CJ steal Ga land?

When ex-President J.H. Kufuor appointed Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood as the Chief Justice, he must have thought that his fellow country men and women would fully appreciate the true value of the pearl he was casting before them.

Mrs. Justice Georgina Wood is a Ghanaian by birth, the first woman to be appointed to that high office in Ghana, and a true born Ga.

Ghanaian’ s would be proud that history had been made. Ghanaian women, always bemoaning the paucity of women in top positions, would welcome her as a cherished icon. And Gas would rejoice in the fact that their ‘Native Daughter’ had brought glory to her people. Had Mr. Kufour made a good choice? Mr. Justice F.K. Kpegah, the then acting Chief Justice, thought so. Appearing at the celebration of Mrs. Justice Wood’s 60th birthday, Mr. Justice Kpegah reportedly told her, ‘’Georgina, I offer you my shoulder to lean on, though I am not physically strong.’’ He had not been in the best of health at the time but it was a labour of love for him to attend the birthday celebrations.

Mr. Justice Kpegah, as reported by THE CHRONICLE, emphatically stated the ‘’Her Ladyship was not chosen because she is feminine, but was nominated by the President because she merits the job by dint of her stature in job performance over the past period spanning three decades.’’(THE CHRONICLE June 11, 2007).

The ‘’Daily Graphic’’ of Tuesday, June 12, 2007, quoted Mr. S. Tetteh, then President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) as saying of Mrs. Justice Wood, ‘’She deserves it, and I will not say the President gave it to her because of her sex, but because she is very capable.’’ Mr. Tetteh went on, ‘’The new Chief Justice is known to have a firm hand on whatever she sets out to do, and I am confident that with the encouragement and support of the Bar, the good image of the Judiciary will be restored.’’

What was Mrs. Justice Wood bringing to her new position? As stated by Mr. Justice Kpegah, she had amassed experience covering over thirty years.

In spite of her academic and professional qualifications, she had started her judicial career as a Police Magistrate (MP). She had climbed the judicial ladder rung by rung, from Police Magistrate to Circuit Court judge to High Court judge to Appeal Court Justice and finally to Supreme Court Justice. Also in her bag was the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).

Lauded by her colleague Supreme Court Justice and by the President of the GBA, what more was expected of her? Well, not everyone was happy with the appointment of this judicial gem.

Honorable E.T. Mensah grumbled over what, to him, was the shortness of the time devoted to the Parliamentary vetting of Mrs. Justice Wood.

He said that, in other jurisdictions, the vetting would have taken longer. How long did he want?

Another objector was one Mr. Larry Alan Dogbey, whose article entitled, GEORGINA WOOD VETTING-HOW BLAY AND OTHERS FAILED, was published in THE ENQUIRER of June 6-7, 2007.

Mr. Dogbey faulted the Vetting Committee for not questioning her as to why she failed to call the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to her committee when his name was mentioned.

Mr. Dogbey also faulted the Vetting Committee for not asking her why she failed to locate the 77 parcels of cocaine alleged to have been imported into the country.

Mr. Dogbey also catstigated the Vetting Committee for not failing to ask her views about the death penalty.

Finally, Mr. Dogbey criticized the Vetting Committee for failing to ask her about a case in which an ‘’ailing’’ (his own word) Mr. Justice T.K. Adzoe had issued a writ against Mr. Justice George Kingsley Acquah, the late Chief Justice, over Mr. Justice Acquah’s attempt to remove him (Mr. Justice Adzoe) and why the case had not been heard by the of Mr. Justice Acquah’s death. Today, the shouldering embers of hatred against this fine woman have flared up.

Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Secretary, Hermann Wilhelm Goering, is reported to have said, ’’Lies, often repeated, win belief. And the bigger the lie, the greater the possibility of its being believed.

Plant a lie in the unthinking mind of simpletons and it will soon germinate, sprout and spread. Throw enough dirt at a person and hope that some of it will stick.

The current Judiciary is corrupt, it delays cases and gives judgment in favour of criminals who are members of the New Patriotic Party or who have friends in the NPP. And it is the present Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, who is presiding over the mess without doing anything about it. Mr. Kwabena Agyei, the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), his Regional Chairmen, the General Secretary, and others in the NDC thinks and says so.

Mr. Attah Akyea, an NPP Member of Parliament who is also a lawyer, is said to be married to the sister of the Chief Justice.

It is said it was in his law chambers that a plot was hatched to scuttle the whole 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections and that the name of the Chief Justice was mentioned.

If the Chief Justice did not want to steal the Election victory from the NDC, then why did she empanel a court to hear the petition on a holiday when only the President of the Republic can grant a special dispensation for work to be done on a public holiday?

Fortunately, under the 1992 Constitution, a Chief Justice can only be removed from office on grounds of (1) incompetence, (2) stated misbehavior or (3) inability to perform the functions of his office arising from infirmity of body or mind. (Article 146(1). A Chief Justice retires compulsorily at the age of 70 (Seventy years)

God willing, the Chief Justice has about seven more years and will outlast this Government led by President J.E. A. Mills. I cannot tell whether she is incompetent, is guilty of stated misbehavior or is physically and mentally infirm.

Because a petition currently reportedly before the President has no chance of succeeding, the latest ploy is to criminalize the Chief Justice’s purchase of land.

Professor Atta Mills, a Fante, buys a building plot which is part of Government Lands in Accra and he has done no wrong. Georgina Theodora Lutterodt, a true-born Ga woman, now Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, after thirty- eight years of predicated public service, purchases a building plot in Ga land and that act is made to appear like a crime. If Mrs. Justice Wood has committed a crime, let her take her medicine. I find it nauseating and revolting that this gem of a Ghanaian woman should be crucified for political reasons, with Gas remaining silent or in the vanguard of the assault on her integrity and emotional stability. It is cowardly and shameful. I am sad and very angry that, in order to have her peace of mind and maintain her dignity, the Chief Justice has had to give up her lawfully acquired plot to those who cannot hold to her.

I hope she has the courage and the tenacity to dare her accusers to remove her from office according to the right procedure. Shame to all her traducers.

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