Posted: Monday 16th June 2014 at 12:13 pm

Legal Aid Opens New Offices


Mr Adjei, being supported by Nana Serwaa Nyarko and Mr Seini to commission the office  

LEGAL AID, Ghana has commissioned five offices of the Legal Aid Scheme in the Brong-Ahafo Region to assist the less-privileged in the region to access legal services free of charge.

The beneficiary communities are Atebubu, Dormaa-Ahenkro, Duayaw Nkwanta, Techiman and Goaso.

At a ceremony at Duayaw Nkwanta to officially commission the offices on Tuesday, the Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Justice Samuel Adjei, said Ghana’s Legal Aid Scheme was set up under the 1992 Constitution and Act 542 (1997) to protect and defend the rights of the poor and vulnerable against unfair treatment and abuse.

Mr Adjei however stated that legal representation in Ghana is something that is not guaranteed for the indigenes and the less-privileged members of the nation’s local communities.

He was hopeful that the vulnerable would have access to free legal services due to the establishment of the Legal Aid Offices in the region.

Mr Adjei therefore called on all and sundry to see to the sustenance and promotion of the nation’s Legal Aid Scheme and further urged all districts and municipal chief executives in the region who are yet to establish Legal Aid Offices in their communities to endeavour to liaise with Nananom and the necessary stakeholders to see to their creation in their districts.

The Executive Director of Legal Aid, Ghana, Yahaya Al-Hassan Seini mentioned that the Duayaw Nkwanta office provided the first result of the collaboration between the traditional authority and the State to secure access to justice for their people.

‘In this case we have the traditional authority seen in the queenmother, chiefs and elders of Duayaw Nkwanta providing the premises for the office, the State represented by the Legal Aid Scheme providing the personnel and the State’s development partner seen in the UNDP providing funding for the refurbishment, furnishing and equipping of the office,’ he indicated.

Mr Seini said the Legal Aid Scheme exists for the purpose of ensuring that no person in Ghana suffers injustice on account of his/her low economic or social standing.

Nana Serwaa Nyarko, queenmother of Duayaw Nkwanta, who described the event as a dream come true, said when she was made the queenmother of the area two years ago, she set for herself some priorities and that included access to justice which is legal aid for the needy, the poor and the vulnerable in the traditional area.

‘Having discussed this with the Omanhene, and having had his unflinching support, I took bold steps on this priority and the result is what we are witnessing today,’ she stated.

The Brong-Ahafo President of the Ghana Bar Association, Eric Ansah Ankomah, stated that the struggle for legal services has been a challenge and the bane of the less-endowed and less-privileged majority of the citizens of Ghana.

He said legal fees if strictly enforced may cause fear and panic to those who seek the services of lawyers.

As part of the programme, the Legal Aid Scheme, with sponsorship from UNDP Ghana, contracted the Legal Resources Centre to undertake a week-long legal aid clinics at Duayaw Nkwanta and Goaso.

  FROM Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Duayaw Nkwanta

[email protected]
 

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