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Tue, Aug

Ghana salutes her ladyship Georgina Wood

She shot to the limelight when she chaired the Georgina Wood Committee that investigated the disappearance of some 77 parcels of cocaine from the infamous MV Benjamin ship in 2006.

Then she became a household name in 2007 when the Kufuor administration named her the Chief Justice of Ghana.

There was so much euphoria surrounding her appearance before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, with gender activists commending the government for her appointment.

The Judiciary is one of the three arms of government and it serves as the bulwark against the excesses of the Executive and the Legislature. The rule of law thrives in an environment where the independence of the Judiciary is respected by the government and the governed.

Mrs Justice Georgina Wood has contributed her quota to the expansion of the frontiers of justice in the country.

The Justice for All programme is an initiative of the outgone Chief Justice to decongest the prisons. Through that initiative, some suspected criminals, who were languishing in prison cells as remand prisoners, have regained their freedom.

Her commitment to fight corruption in the Judiciary is also well documented. Last year, during the purge of the Judiciary as a result of the exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, she was criticised by some of her peers in the Judiciary for not protecting the integrity of the Judiciary. However, civil society groups and litigants who have suffered injustices at the hands of some of the judges praised her.

Former Chief Justice Wood is a firm believer in continuing judicial education and, therefore, sought opportunities in leading universities in the US and the UK, in particular, for postgraduate studies (LLM) for members of the Judiciary in relatively newer areas of the law such as Oil and Gas, ICT, Taxation, International Law and Justice, Intellectual Property and Maritime Law to build the capacity of judges and enhance their professional development.

For us at the Daily Graphic, we know that one day when the history of the Judiciary comes to be written, her name will not only be mentioned in dispatches; it will also be written in gold for her immense contribution to the promotion of the rule of law.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said in his tribute to the outgone Chief Justice: “Her career has been extraordinary and I pay warm tribute to her distinguished service to our nation and I wish her a well-earned retirement, even though her public service will not be over, as a place on the Council of State awaits her.”

As Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Wood swore in three persons as President — the late John Evans Atta Mills, John Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo.

Not only was she the first female Chief Justice of Ghana; she was the longest-serving Chief Justice.

Mrs Justice Wood has, indeed, raised the bar in justice administration in the country and as her successor takes office, it is our hope that she too can raise the bar further and earn the respect of all who seek justice.

As we say goodbye to Mrs Justice Wood, with the expectation that she will bring her values and experience to bear on the Council of State, we also wish Justice Sophia Akuffo well as she appears before the Appointments Committee of Parliament soon.