President J.A. Kufuor yesterday consoled the family of the late Justice George Kingsley Acquah, describing his death as a blow to the nation.
After exchanging greetings with Mrs Jane Acquah, wife of the late Chief Justice, and the rest of the family, the President, who looked sad, gave words of exhortation before proceeding to sign the book of condolence opened at the residence of the late Chief Justice at Cantonments in Accra.
President Kufuor said the untimely death of the Chief Justice was "a serious blow to the balance of the nation", saying the conscientious and focused service of the Chief Justice, as the head of the Judiciary, was unrivalled.
“Ghana has lost a gem of a public servant. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” the President wrote in the book of condolence.
A family spokesman, Mr Ato Ampiah, said although the family was mourning, it was encouraged by the visit of the President.
President Kufuor was accompanied by Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Co-operation and NEPAD, and Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries.
Mr Justice Acquah, 65, died at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra at 1.00 a.m. on Sunday.
The cause of death is yet to be known but he was believed to have died from cancer.
The Chief Justice, who was taken ill about two years ago, was flown abroad on a number of occasions for medical treatment and resumed work before his health conditions deteriorated again.
He was flown down from the United States of America about three days before his death and was on admission at the 37 Military Hospital.
Justice Acquah was Ghana's 11th Chief Justice after independence and was appointed Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana on July 4, 2003 to succeed Mr Justice E.K. Wiredu.
In a related development, the Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, has expressed sorrow at the death of the Chief Justice.
In a statement signed on his behalf, the minister said he had, on many occasions, worked with Justice Acquah and noted his sterling qualities as a person, a family man, a lawyer, a judge and a distinguished and innovative Chief Justice.
The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) also expressed its sadness at the death of the Chief Justice Acquah.
Meanwhile, the Governing Board, management and staff of CDD-Ghana have noted that before and during his elevation to the office of Chief Justice, Justice Acquah was a source of unstinting and invaluable support to the centre in its activities to promote democracy and good governance in Ghana.
A statement signed by Professor E. Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, recalled with great fondness the charismatic presence of the late Justice Acquah as the distinguished chairman of the maiden CDD-Ghana annual Kronti ne Akwamu (Democracy and Governance) lecture on March 1, 2005.
In another development, the family of the late Saka Acquaye, an accomplished sculptor and dramatist, formally informed the President of the death of their beloved relative.
Saka Acquaye, 83, passed away on February 27 and left behind a sister, a brother and four children.
In a tribute, President Kufuor said the late Acquaye, credited with the carving of the effigies of Sir Gordon Guggisberg at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Dr J.B. Danquah, paid his due.
He said the government would honour both civil servants and private citizens who contributed to national development.
Story by Nehemia Owusu Achiaw