Communications minister gives technology facelift to judicial service

Communications minister gives technology facelift to judicial service

Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, Minister of Communications

Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, has donated 160 computers and 30 scanners to the Judicial Service towards implementation of Government’s e-justice project.

The e-justice project is under the umbrella of the e-governance policy of Government. Currently Government is requesting proposals for the construction of infrastructure towards the implementation of the project.

Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah, made the presentation when he paid a courtesy call on Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina T. Wood, at her office in Accra on Wednesday 24th April.

Dr. Omane Boamah was accompanied by Mr. Kwaku Ofosu-Adarkwa, Chief Director of the Ministry of Communications, and Ms. Teki Akuetteh, an ICT Legal Expert with the Ministry.

Presenting the items, the Minister assured the Chief Justice that another presentation of 160 pieces of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) equipments and 50 network printers will be presented to the Judicial Service in the coming months.

Dr. Omane-Boamah indicated that his Ministry is currently working with National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to conduct the fibre optic and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) needs assessment of a 42-courtroom complex currently under construction.

The Minister of Communications also informed the Lady Chief Justice of plans by the Ministry to establish a Data Protection Commission.

The Data Protection Commission would require that ICT capacities of Judges are strengthened to enable them adjudicate cases involving electronic transaction disputes.

The Minister also indicated to the Chief Justice that upon the eventual migration of local television from analogue to digital, there will be a growing need for content development and institutions such as the Judiciary and Parliament can take advantage and develop content that can help improve transparency, public education and access to their systems and procedures.

Chief Justice Wood expressed gratitude to the Minister for the presentations and informed him that ahead of the implementation of the e-justice project, three Judges with support from the Getfund will in August 2013, pursue an LLM Programme in ICT and Commerce at the University of Southampton, UK.

Chief Justice Wood informed the Minister of Communication that from the 2013/2014 Legal Year, each Region will have a Court of Appeal to complement the current three in Accra, Cape Coast and Kumasi.

Currently, Judges from the Court of Appeal in Accra travel to Cape Coast and Kumasi to sit for four days to hear appeals to the Court, and write their judgments on the last working day of the week.

Her Ladyship Chief Justice Georgina Wood said the situation will be reviewed to enable Judges to sit for five days and deliver their judgments from Accra via video conference facility from the Judicial Service.

Already in February this year, the Judicial Service used video conference to conduct a distant learning programme for Superior Court Judges through collaboration with the Duke University in North Carolina, USA. Another session is expected take place in May.

Chief Justice Wood also took the opportunity to thank NITA for providing the Judicial Service with Tele-presence equipment for video conferencing.