George Commey Mills-Odoi

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George Mills-Odoi
Attorney General of Ghana
In office
1961–1962
Preceded byGeoffrey Bing
Succeeded byHon. Kwaw-Swanzy
Supreme Court Judge
In office
1963–1966
Appointed byKwame Nkrumah
Personal details
Born
George Commey Mills-Odoi

(1916-06-29)29 June 1916
Jamestown British Accra, Gold Coast
Died4 August 1988(1988-08-04) (aged 72)
NationalityGhanaian
Spouse(s)
Mrs. Rebecca Mills-Odoi (nee) Abbey (m. 1959)
Children10
Alma materAccra Academy

George Commey Mills-Odoi (29 June 1916 – 4 August 1988) was the first Ghanaian Attorney General of the Republic of Ghana. He was a supreme court judge and the first Ghanaian to hold the dual offices of Solicitor-General and Director of Public Prosecutions.[1]

Early years and education[edit]

He was born at James Town British Accra (now Jamestown, Ghana) on June 29, 1916 to Mr. William Hudson Odoi and Madam Sarah Naa Oyoe Mills. He was the last of nine children, all male.

He attended Accra Royal School from 1923 to 1933, where he passed the seventh standard examination with distinction. He was admitted into the Accra Academy in 1934 where he passed the Cambridge School Certificate with complete exemption from the London Matriculation in 1937, an achievement not very common in his days. He completed the secondary course in four years as against the normal six years. So impressive was his record at the Academy that in advance of the publication of the school certificate exam results, he was enrolled as a teacher, and joined the staff of the school.[1]

Career[edit]

His career begun as a teacher at his alma mater; the Accra Academy in 1937, in 1938 he resigned as a teacher from the Accra Academy and joined the Civil Service as a second Division clerk in the Law courts. It was during this period that he laid the foundation for his future professional career as a lawyer and later a Judge. In 1947, he resigned from the civil service and proceeded to the United Kingdom where he enrolled as a student at the Middle Temple and was called to the Bar on the 26th of January, 1951. He returned to Ghana after his studies and was enrolled as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Justice in March, 1951. He begun his practice in Dantu Lodge, the chamber of his cousin, Mr. G. A. Heward-Mills in Kumasi together with Mr. Samuel Azu Crabbe (who later became the 5th Chief Justice of Ghana) for a period of six months. Mr. Azu-Crabbe later left the chambers and George headed the chambers for nine months until the return of his cousin from Britain, thereafter, he established his own chambers- Tron Chambers. He soon built up a large and lucrative practice in Kumasi and throughout the Ashanti Region. He came into instant notice of the Government and he was appointed as Chairman of the Shai Paramount Chieftaincy Dispute in 1958. From 1958 to 1959 he served roles as Director of The Ghana Commercial Bank and Director of The Ghana Life Assurance Company. He was Junior Counsel to the Attorney General Geoffrey Bing Q.C. at the Granville Sharp Commission of Enquiry held in Accra from 1959 to 1960 and in January 1960 he was appointed Justice of The High Court of Ghana. That same year he became the first ever Ghanaian to be appointed to hold the dual offices of Solicitor-General and Director of Public Prosecutions. In 1961 he became the first Ghanaian to be appointed Attorney General of the Republic of Ghana. He served in that capacity until 1962. He was a member of the Committee appointed by the state to enquire into the assets of Ministers of State of the First Republic in 1961.[2] He also served as member of the Council for Legal Education from 1961 to 1966. In 1962 he was a Government nominee for the drafting of the master Agreement for The Volta River Project. He was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana and served in that capacity from 1963 until Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966. He was a member of the Ghana Legal council from 1964 to 1966 and was appointed Acting Chief Justice of Ghana in July 1965. He was appointed Judge Advocate General of Ghana Armed Forces from 1966 to 1982. In 1967 he was Chairman of the Committee of Enquiry into the structure and remuneration of the Public Services of Ghana; popularly known as the MILLS-ODOI committee[3][4][5] and also served as Chairman of The Incomes Commission from 1967 to 1968.[6] He also served as Chancellor of the Accra Anglican Diocese from 1972 to 1988.[7] In 1979 he served as Chairman of The Boards of Directors at the Ghana Italy Petroleum company (GHAIP) now Tema Oil Refinery.[1]

International assignments[edit]

He served as Junior Counsel to Sir Dingle Foot Q.C., who held brief for Dr. Hastings Banda (Head of State, Malawi) at The Devlin Commission of Enquiry in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1958 to 1959.[8]

He was a member of a three Man Committee appointed in 1963 by The Government of Ceylon (now Sri-Lanka) to enquire into matters connected with the assassination of Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike.

In 1970 he was the first ever Ghanaian to be appointed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to officiate as Judge Advocate in three separate courts martial for the trial of mutineers in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force.[9][1]

Sports[edit]

He was an accomplished footballer during his youthful days. He played for the Energetics Football Team in 1934 and for Accra Standfast from 1935 to 1947.  In 1935 and 1937 he played for the nation against Nigeria. He was later appointed Football coach to the Asante Kotoko Football club from 1951 to 1952. He also took keen interest in horse racing he became the Legal Advisor to the Horse Racing Board of Control from 1961 to 1963. From 1963 to 1965 he was Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of The Ghana Football Association and from 1966 to 1968 he was Chairman of the sports council of Ghana. In 1972 he was a member of The Ghana Olympic Committee that same year he became Chairman of The Olympic and Overseas Fund Raising Committee.[10][1]

Tribute[edit]

Mr. Eric Williams, the then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, paid Tribute to him in five books which he presented to Justice Mills-Odoi at the end of The Trinidad Enquiry with the following inscriptions: TO JUSTICE MILLS-ODOI OF GHANA IN APPRECIATION OF THE ARDUOUS AND VALUABLE SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE OF TRINIDAD IN THEIR HOUR OF NEED. (Sgd. Eric Williams) PRIME MINISTER September 10Th, 1971.[1]

Death[edit]

His state of health deteriorated during his last few years, he died at the 37 Military Hospital in the morning of Thursday 4 August 1988 at the age of 72.[1]

Honours[edit]

He was awarded The Companion of The Order of the Volta (Civil Division) in 1978.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "To the memory of George Mills-Odoi". justice-millsodoi.memory-of.com. Retrieved 17 July 2010..
  2. ^ Asamoah, Obed (2014). The Political History of Ghana (1950-2013): The Experience of a Non-Conformist.
  3. ^ PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT: PROBLEMS OF ADAPTION IN DIFFERENT SOCIO-CULTURAL CONTEXT (Report). UNESCO. 1982.
  4. ^ "Civil Service Reform in Ghana: A Case Study of Contemporary Reform Problems in Africa" (PDF). African e-journals project. 2001.
  5. ^ Gelb, Alan; Knight, J. B.; Sabot, Richard (November 1988). "Lewis Through a Looking Glass: Public Sector Employment, Rent". Policy Research Working Paper Series. World Bank.
  6. ^ Prosper Dzitse,"The Worsening Of Ghana’s Wage Bill And Its Effect On Our Future Development", modern ghana, 9 August 2013.
  7. ^ Pobee, J. S. (2006). The Anglican Story in Ghana: From Mission Beginnings to Province of Ghana.
  8. ^ Baker, Colin (1997). State of Emergency: Nyasaland 1959. Retrieved August 27, 2006.
  9. ^ Trinidad Express,"TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: ALLAN ALEXANDER’S GLORIOUS PATH", entorno inteligente, 6 October 2016.
  10. ^ Nkrumah, I. K. (1976-06-10). "Olympic Donation". Daily Graphic. Retrieved 2018-08-27.