Justice Gertrude Torkornoo has been recommended for approval as Chief Justice by a majority decision of the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
This was after her vetting on Friday by the committee.
The Minority side in Parliament on the committee want the decision on her approval to be deferred.
But the Majority side says there is no basis for deferring the decision after every member on the committee was given the opportunity to ask a question when she appeared before the committee on Friday [May 26, 2023].
The Minority side had said they can fully evaluate Justice Gertrude Torkornoo and approve or disapprove of her nomination as a Chief Justice only after they have evaluated the “Supreme Court reasoned judgement in the matter of James Gyakye Quayson” and his removal from Parliament as a member for Assin North.”
However, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament and First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu says the Minority side came to the vetting with that position.
It is his position that there is no basis for deferring a decision on her recommendation after the public hearing [vetting], just because the Minority side want to read a judgment on the Gyakye Quayson case.
“They [Minority] came to the vetting with a position, do this for me or I don’t. We went through the vetting and clearly we are satisfied that there is no basis for deferring the decision [just] because we want to read the judgment [on Gyakye Quayson].
“Because they [Minority] have not read the judgment, they won’t support her, it is one of a fix position versus what is there.”
“We recommend her for approval by a majority decision,” Mr Osei Owusu said.
He said the Appointments Committee will go ahead with its report per a majority decision instead of a consensus to the plenary for consideration.
He explained that after the public vetting and when the committee members went into a meeting like they normally do after every vetting, the Minority side brought up that issue of the outstanding Supreme Court full written ruling on the Gyakye Quayson case.
At the end of the public hearing, the chairman, Mr Osei Owusu announced that “nobody has been refused the permission to ask a question. Every opportunity has been afforded members to ask any questions they want. After the conclusion, we have to take a decision. Now I ask, what will be the justification for deferring the decision. I don’t have any justification to defer this decision because of a matter which has been concluded by a panel [on Gyakye Quayson] and not her [Torkornoo]. Even if she is the one who writes the judgment [of the Supreme Court], she will be writing on behalf of the [panel], reporting the group’s decision. So what is the basis for deferring,” Mr Osei Owusu said in an interview with Richard Sky of Citi FM, monitored by Graphic Online.
Mr Osei Owusu said there is “absolutely no basis for recalling her for a second meeting for vetting.”
“There is no issue that was not resolved. There is no question that there was no answer. Infact, for those who paid attention, the Minority Leader [Cassiel Ato Forson] was the last person to ask questions on behalf of Minority and he asked questions relating to this same judgment and she explained how they [judges] draw conclusions, and how the decisions that are taken, the decisions of the group are made.
Press statement by Minority side
Later in a press statement, the Minority side said they have been able to evaluate Justice Torkornoo on all relevant criteria “except the outstanding matter of James Gyakye Quayson which would enable us come to a decision.“
“We expect the reasoned judgement of the court on this matter by 7th June, 2023 to finalise our decision,” a statement signed and issued by the Minority Chief Whip, Kwame Governs Agbodza on Friday evening (May 26, 2023 said.
This was after an earlier vetting of the nominee by the Appointments Committee of Parliament during the day.
Attached below is a copy of the Minority’s statement
MINORITY POSITION ON VETTING OF CHIEF JUSTICE NOMINEE
The Minority Members on the Appointments Committee of Parliament did not vote on President’s nominee for the position of Chief Justice today due to the unavailability of the reasoned judgement of the Supreme Court in the matter of Hon. James Gyakye Quayson.
It is important to state that the Appointments Committee not long ago in 2019 vetted and approved this same nominee as a Justice of the Supreme Court. However, it was imperative for Members of the Minority on the Committee to evaluate the decisions of the nominee on all other cases, including the James Gyakye Quayson case since the vetting in 2019.
We successfully evaluated the nominee on all relevant criteria except the outstanding matter of James Gyakye Quayson which would enable us come to a decision. We expect the reasoned judgement of the court on this matter by 7th June, 2023 to finalise our decision.
We have duly communicated our challenge to our colleagues on the Majority side and expect their cooperation.
Source: graphic online
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