Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader of Parliament, Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has scolded the Minority on the Vetting Committee for voting against Justice Clemence Honyenuga and referring him to plenary.
A nominee for the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Clemence Honyenuga, failed to secure unanimous approval from the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) when he appeared before it for vetting. The committee voted on a 10-7 approval.
A member of the committee, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, told the Daily Graphic last night that since Justice Honyenuga had approval based on majority decision, the report on his nomination would be sent to the plenary of Parliament for a full debate and for a vote to be taken.
“The Minority was not convinced he was forthright and sincere. He breached several provisions in rules 1, 2, 5 and particularly 6 (s) of the Code of Conduct for judges and magistrates which frowns on judges endorsing a political office holder,” Mr Ablakwa added.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Krachi East and member of the ACP, Mr Michael Gyato, confirmed that the committee voted on Justice Honyenuga when it went into conclave, but did not give details.
He, however, told the Daily Graphic that the matter on the appointment of Justice Honyenuga would go to the plenary for conclusion.
Change of mind
But addressing the position of the Minority on the Appointment Committee of Parliament (ACP), the Majority Leader, Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu on Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’ Morning Show said he is hopeful the Minority will have a change of mind before the meeting is conveyed next week Tuesday.
Citing Article 128 Clause 4 of the country’s constitution, he indicated that Justice Clemence Honyenuga has not done anything wrong to warrant the decision by the Minority.
“If you look at article 128 clause 4, it talks about the appointment of the Supreme Court judges and the eligibility and qualification criteria that must be looked at before judges are appointed to the Supreme Court. The constitution says that a person shall not be qualified for appointment as justice of the Supreme Court unless he is of high moral character and proven integrity; these are the two things the constitution is talking about and the third one is that he is not less than 15 years standing as a lawyer,” he outlined.
“If Justice Clemence Honyenuga failed to meet these criteria as enshrined in the Constitution, then the minority on the Vetting Committee will be right to vote against him, and not based on something he has said in the past in a capacity as a Chief which has nothing to do with his work as a judge,” he stressed.
He insisted that faulting Justice Honyenuga on the basis of his comment as a paramount Chief when in fact he has met the constitutional criteria for the position as a Supreme Court judge is wrong on the part of the Minority on the Vetting Committee.
“He made a conditional statement that President Akufo-Addo may be given a second chance to run the country again if he continues to provide development for his community . . . how can he be brandish as a member of the NPP for the comment he made as a Chief? Even if he votes for either NPP or NDC, is it an act of disqualification? I don’t think such thing must be encouraged at all,” he argued.
He however recalled many Chiefs in the country who sung the praise of former President John Mahama for bringing development to their communities and the Minority in Parliament never came out to condemn them.
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