General News of Mon, 19 Jun 201726

I never thought I would become a judge - New CJ thanks all four presidents

An "extremely humbled" Justice Sophia Akuffo has expressed profuse gratitude to all four of Ghana's presidents beginning with the man who first appointed her to the bench.

At a swearing-in ceremony, the new Chief Justice praised the first president of the Fourth Republic, Jerry John Rawlings for first nominating her to the Supreme Court in 1995.

She said the nomination came "at a time when I had not even conceived or envisaged a life on the bench".

More than 22 years as a Supreme Court judge, President Akufo-Addo has handed her the fourth most powerful job in the country, nominating her on 11 May 2017 as the country's 13th Chief Justice.

"I am very grateful to you Mr. President" she said in a short speech that also acknowledged the Council of State and Parliament for the roles they played during the appointment process.

After President Rawlings pushed Sophia Akuffo to public service and the limelight, President John Agyekum Kufour catapulted her to international public service after she was nominated to join a panel of judges at the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights in January 2006.

In spreading her acknowledgement, Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo thanked President Kufuor for the third leap in her public career.

Her fourth successive jump came in 2014 after President Mahama supported her nomination as vice- president of the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights in 2014 and later as President of the Court.

She thanked former President John Mahama for her support which she said, helped to make her tenure as President of the court successful.

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As Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has reached her fifth leap in public service within the judiciary in Ghana.

Three of the presidents who played a role in her illustrious rise on the bench were present at the swearing-in, except the immediate past president, John Mahama who is out of the country.

The swearing-in was heavily attended by leading personalities and power blocs in the country. Ag. Chief Justice William Atuguba led several other Supreme Court judges to the swearing in. Several 2016 flagbearers and high-profile politicians also looked on as Sophia Akuffo swore three oaths - Oath of Secrecy, Judicial Oath and Oath of Allegiance.

If she completes this job in less than two years time when she retires, Sophia Akuffo could be in line for a sixth role in public service with a spot on the Council of State which is reserved for a retired Chief Justice.

She reiterated her passion for integrity and said she will strive to demonstrate this passion in her new role.

After five hours of vetting at Parliament's Appointments Committee, Sophia Akuffo told a packed audience at the swearing-in at the State House Monday, she has gained an understanding of what Ghanaians want to see her address within the judiciary.

She listed conditions of service within the judiciary, the ugly looking courts across the country and the fight against corruption.

Justice Sophia Akuffo ended her speech, restating her favourite scripture which she told MPs during her vetting.

"I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted" Job 42:2

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