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10.02.2009 Politics

Number of Supreme Court Judges problematic – Mould-Iddrisu


Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Minister-Nominee for Justice and Attorney-General, on Monday said the situation where the number of Judges that could be appointed to the Supreme Court remained open, made room for Executive manipulation of the Judiciary.

She said when approved as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, she would advise the President to place an upper limit on the number of Judges that could be appointed to the Supreme Court at a time.

She was answering questions from Members of the Parliamentary Appointments Committee.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu, who is currently Head of the Legal Department of the Commonwealth Secretariat, noted that because of the absence of a limit to the number of Judges that could be appointed to the Supreme Court, the Executive had compromised the independence of the judiciary through ill-intentioned appointments.

“The Judiciary should be manifestly seen as independent and I believe when we place an upper limit on the number of Supreme Court Judges, it will go a long way to serve the purpose,” she said.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said she would advise the President to legalise regulations that would ameliorate taxes and tariffs and that she would also initiate action to operationalise the Disability Law and also expedite the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.

She said there was the need for the citizenry to come along with government to ensure the success of the nation's development agenda, adding that the Freedom of Information Law would open up government activities to the public and engender public confidence in the Executive.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu also proposed that the office of Attorney-General (A-G) should be separated from that of the Minister of Justice and that the A-G position should be constitutionally entrenched to insulate it from arbitrary dismissal by the President.

Asked if her inexperience in ordinary and constitutional litigation would not adversely affect her work as the main legal advisor to the President, she said she would depend on the top team of competent assistants at the A-G's Office.

She said the Law on Wilfully Causing Financial Loss to the State was good but needed better interpretation and explanation.

She told the Committee that when given the nod she would facilitate the implementation of laws that criminalised Trokosi and the operation of witch camps in the country.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu defended comments she allegedly made, describing the courts as kangaroo courts, saying she made those remarks on a political platform in a particular context and that she did not refer to all Ghanaian courts.