Accra, March 27, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor and his wife Theresa on Thursday joined mourners from all walks of life who thronged the forecourt of the State House to pay their last respects to the late Chief Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu at a pre-burial state funeral service. Among those present were the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes, Chief Justice Mrs Georgina Thoedora Wood, former Speaker of Parliament, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, Ministers, Parliamentarians, and members of the Bench and Bar.
Also present was Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress.
The late Justice Wiredu served as head of the country's Judiciary from 2001-2003 and is credited with some landmark reforms in the judicial system including the introduction of the automated Fast Track Court system, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the Judicial Training Institute.
Running through the various tributes read to his memory by the Government, Judicial Service, Ghana Bar Association (GBA), the widow, children and the Church were the acknowledgment of his sublime qualities of independent and analytical mind, courage, deep understanding of the law, industry, ingenuity and abiding faith in God.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, eulogizing on behalf of the Government, described the late Chief Justice as a great Jurist, whose tenure marked an important watershed in the judicial administration of the country.
The nation, he said, would eternally remain grateful to him for the transformation he brought to the judicial service and contribution to the development of Ghana's constitutional democracy. "Chief Justice Wiredu deserves praise because he was great and famous," Mr Ghartey said.
The Most Reverend Robert Aboagye-Mensah, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, in a sermon he based on the theme; "Pursuing a Heart of Wisdom", said in position of power and authority, it was important for all to always realize that they were human.
People must therefore make sure that they led lives righteous in the sight of God.
He noted that Chief Jus tice Wiredu despite rising to the pinnacle of the Judiciary allowed his life to be influenced by his faith and lived out the very nature of his Creator, seeking justice and fairness for all. "We must seek justice and fairness. It should not just be doing business as usual. It is something we must pursue as our commitment." The late Chief Justice, who died on January 31 at 73, had his education at the Adisadel College and the Kumasi College of Science and Technology now Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
He was called to the British Bar in 1960 and served on the Bench for 34 years. He was appointed to the High Court whilst in private practice in 1969, elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1980 and the Supreme Court in 1990.
On November 9, 2001, he was appointed Chief Justice and retired in May 2003 due to ill-health.
He left behind a wife, Emelia, nine children and 19 grandchildren.