Yes, i have a relationship with President Akufo-Addo, but…-Yoni Kulendi

A private legal practitioner nominated by President Akufo-Addo to the Supreme Court of Ghana, Emmanuel Yoni Kulendi, has revealed that he has a relationship with President Akufo-Addo, but insisted it will not affect his rulings at the apex court when he is approved by parliament.

He said if the President had not nominated him as a judge of the highest court of the land, he would still have put his name as a reference on his Curriculum Vitae (CV) for any job or appointment.

He has kicked against any move to cap the number of Justices at the Supreme Court.

According to him, limiting the Supreme Court Judges would amount to what he described as “boxing the justice system” into a tight corner.

“I am an advocate for an open limit,” Yoni Kulendi said on Tuesday when he appeared before the Appointments Committee for vetting.

He said he would allow flexibility in the justice system and adapt to the needs of the people.

In his considered view, the Supreme Court is flooded with cases and so capping the number of the judges could  lead to prolong litigation.

He contended that should the number be capped, it might lead to amendments in the future since population growth would demand that the number be increased.

Article 128 of the Constitution sates that “the Supreme court shall consist of the Chief Justice and not less than nine other Justices of the Supreme Court.”

There is no mention of a maximum number, and a debate on this has sharply divided legal minds. It was based on this that the Honorable Member of Parliament for Bodi, Sampson Ahi, who is also a member of the Appointments Committee sought to know the nominee’s opinion

In his responds to a possible political abuse by the president who is the appointing authority should the number not be capped, Kulendi said there are filter systems to check abuse.

He said the president is mandated to consult the Judicial Council and the Council of State as well as the nominee being subjected to vetting by parliament.

The renowned private legal practitioner also dismissed speculations that his nomination as a judge to the highest court of the land would positively impact his financial fortunes.

He said his acceptance of the nomination which is going move him from private practice to public services at the Supreme Court means he is about to commit “financial suicide”. He wished for a national dialogue on the remuneration for public servants including judges as it would help in the fight against perceived corruption in the Judiciary.

“Mr Chairman, People in my village are watching me and they will think that this is an elevation, but they don’t know that I am about to commit financial suicide, levels will change.

“We need to have a national dialogue on where we want to go, otherwise the Imams will preach their sermons, the pastors will preach but this demon called corruption will bring us down,” he stated.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson ||

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