President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sworn into office, Justice Clemence Jackson Hoenyenuga, an Appeal Court Judge to the Supreme Court.
Justice Hoenyenuga, who has had a career in the Judiciary spanning over 39 years, with the last 15 years spent as a judge on the Appeals Court, was in March nominated along with three others by the President to replace three Justices of the Supreme Court who have since retired.
The four nominees were vetted rigorously by the Appointment’s Committee of Parliament, and their appointments were unanimously approved by the Legislature last Wednesday.
At a short ceremony at the Jubilee House, Accra, President Akufo-Addo, who administered the Allegiance, Judicial, and Secrecy Oaths to Justice Hoenyenuga, congratulated him on his appointment to the apex court.
He said the judge had met the stringent requirements of the constitution and demonstrated the independence of spirit, proven integrity, high moral character and impartiality of mind to hold the office.
The President told Justice Hoenyenuga that his track record both on the bar and bench spoke for itself, sayings, “Your appointment to the highest court of the land is as truly well-deserved and merited.”
He was hopeful that Justice Hoenyenuga, with his experience in high judicial office, would help strengthen the development of the constitutional and other jurisprudence in the Supreme Court, which had developed a positive reputation post-1966.
With all other courts bound to follow the decisions of the supreme court in the matters of the law, President Akufo-Addo noted that it was critical that justices of the supreme court possess a sound knowledge of the law.
He said the situation where judges prefer judgments on the basis of decisions from lower courts and cite them as law “is not acceptable and even less so when judges cite no authority at all for their rulings and give orders without reason”.
“Judges, more judges of the Supreme court must learn, know their case law, and ensure their decisions and judgments are properly motivated…It is in this manner that judges contribute to the orderly development of the nation,” he said.
To Justice Hoenyenuga, the President said though he had a difficult journey during his vetting, ‘happily, you comforted yourself in a dignified manner,” and, “I can only urge you to overlook these events which are only a mere blip on your public career and dispense justice in accordance with your conscience and the rule of law.”
“It is extremely important that you ensure the strict application of the laws of the land and in the words of the judicial oath that you have just taken, without fervor favor, affection or ill-will, and therefore without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any citizen of the land, ” he admonished.
He was confident that Justice Hoenyenuga will distinguish himself creditably at the Supreme Court.
On his part, Justice Hoenyenuga was thankful to the President and to all other institutions that were instrumental to “granting me this mantle.”
He assured that “I would, to the best of my ability, uphold the faith reposed in me to ensure the 1992 constitution is upheld and for that matter the rule of law. I will, therefore, do my best not to disappoint.”
With a legal career spanning 39 years, Justice Hoenyenuga worked in various capacities including as an Assitant State Attorney, a private legal practitioner, Judge Advocate of the Ghana Navy, Justice of the High Court, additional high court judge sitting on several matters in narcotics, robbery and other violent crimes, Director of the Remand Prisoners Project and a long-serving justice of the Court of Appeal.
He was nominated to the Supreme Court along with Mr. Justice Issifu Imoro Tanko Amadu, also a judge of the Court of Appeal, Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a law lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon and President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and Mr. Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, a private legal practitioner.