Reports emerging in Ghana suggest that the search for the next Chief Justice (CJ) to replace Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah has taken a surprising turn. Initially, it was reported that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had chosen Supreme Court Judge Justice Gertrude Torkornoo as the next Chief Justice of Ghana.
However, a recent report by the New Crusading Guide newspaper on April 21, 2023, suggests otherwise. The paper’s headline, ‘Search for CJ: Justice Kulendi is the Next Chief Justice…Akufo Addo swerved Gertrude Torkornoo’, hints that the President may be considering his former legal partner, Justice Yonny Kulendi, for the position instead of Justice Torkornoo.
This development has caused a lot of uncertainty in the legal community in Ghana, as many were expecting Justice Torkornoo to be appointed as the next CJ. It remains to be seen who President Akufo-Addo will ultimately choose to fill this important position.
The Chief Justice of Ghana plays a vital role in the country’s legal system, as the head of the judiciary. The CJ is responsible for ensuring that the courts operate effectively and efficiently, and that justice is delivered fairly and impartially to all citizens. The position requires someone with extensive legal knowledge, experience, and leadership skills, making the selection process crucial for Ghana’s legal system.
Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi is a Ghanaian judge who hails from Issa, a village in the Upper West Region of Ghana. His experience of spending almost two years on remand in Wa prisons during his formative years fueled his ambition to become a lawyer.
He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ghana in 1992 and went on to become a barrister-at-law in 1994 after attending the Ghana School of Law. Kulendi furthered his education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in International Security and Civil-Military Relations.
After completing his national service at the Legal Aid Board of Accra, Kulendi underwent pupillage at Akufo-Addo, Prempeh, and Co. Chambers. He later founded his own law firm, Kulendi @ Law, where he served as the managing partner until his appointment to the bench.
Kulendi’s areas of legal expertise included Investments, Securities, Commercial Law, Criminal Law, and Litigation.
On March 17, 2020, President Nana Akufo-Addo informed the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye, that Kulendi and three others had been nominated to become justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana. Kulendi underwent vetting alongside Justice Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu on May 12, 2020. Following his vetting by parliament, Kulendi was approved on May 20, 2020, and sworn into office on May 26, 2020, making him the first Ghanaian from the Upper West Region to serve on the country’s highest court of jurisdiction.
Kulendi’s appointment is notable as he was called directly from the bar to serve on the Supreme Court bench, a distinction shared by only a few others.