Barring any last-minute hitches, the Chief Justice-nominee (CJ), Mrs. Sophia Akuffo, would be grilled by the members of the legislative arm of government for a record eleven hours today Friday June 16, 2017. All the 25 members on the Appointments Committee, plus eight non-members drawn from the Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, as well as the Judiciary Committees, bringing the total to 33, are expected to interrogate the incoming CJ.
The rationale behind the decision is not known, but the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu, however, told the parliamentary press corps that each member would be allotted 20 minutes to ask questions.
Should all the 33 members decide to make use of the time allotted to them, the new CJ would be interrogated for a record 660 minutes, which translates into 11 hours – almost half a day.
The vetting, which was scheduled for Monday, June 19 2017, has been brought forward to tomorrow, Friday June 16, 2017.
According to Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu, who is also the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the change in date was meant to quickly fill in the vacuum created at the Apex Court of the land, following the retirement of Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
According to him, though Mrs. Akuffo was to appear on Monday next week, developments on the ground point to the fact that she could be vetted this week.
He explained that, 14 days had been given for the public to file any petition challenging the nomination of the Chief Justice, but as of now, there is no petition filed against Mrs. Sophia Akuffo, hence the decision to bring the vetting forward.
“We considered all the circumstances, and as a Committee, we reviewed the fact that, to date, no petition has been brought against the new Chief Justice.
“We considered the fact that, rather than allowing the fourteen days interval we planned earlier, it will be helpful to abridge the time, and do it as quickly as possible.
“After these considerations, we decided to reschedule her nomination to Friday, to enable us use the whole day for the programme, and also use the weekend to prepare the report, which, most probably, by Monday, will be ready for it to be considered by the plenary.
“This will enable her to start work next week in full, and the administration of justice can be carried on without any delay,” he noted.
President Akufo-Addo appointed Madam Sophia Akuffo last month, as a replacement for the retired Chief Justice Georgina Wood, who left office last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the date for the vetting of the new Administrator for the District Assembly Common Fund has also been changed.
Source: Maxwell Ofori || The Chronicle, Parliament House.