A sealed off court premises.
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has expressed concern about what it has observed as the continuous neglect of the judiciary by the government.
According to the association, the lack of attention given to the judiciary, especially in the area of funding, is crippling the administration of justice and must be checked without delay.
A statement issued in Accra and jointly signed by Nene Abayateye Amegatcher and Justin Agbeli Amenuvor, National President and National Secretary respectively said, ‘The GBA notes with great concern the persistent neglect of the third arm of State leading to the crippling strike action embarked upon by the members of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG).’
It continued, ‘This is a very unfortunate development which adversely affects the administration of justice as well as the fundamental rights of the citizens to access justice, considering the fact that adjudication of individual rights is rendered impossible.’
The GBA said it had noted with regret that the current stalemate between the JUSAG and the authorities had arisen ‘as a result of failure by the government to release subvention approved by Parliament to the third arm of State.
‘The GBA would like to use this opportunity to remind His Excellency the President to quicken the pace of honouring his promise made during the GBA’s visit to the Presidency last year of increasing the 15% of the internally generated funds substantially to enable clear expression to be made of the financial independence of the judiciary as envisioned by the 1992 Constitution.’
They advised that under the implementation of the financial autonomy guaranteed under the constitution, the judiciary in the interim, should be authorized to retain the 85% of its internally generated fund (IGF) paid to the government and offset it against outstanding subvention due it for the 2015 fiscal year which is yet to be released.
‘The GBA is of the firm conviction that the JUSAG members would heed to its humble plea as members of both associations have a very strong relationship; both being major stakeholders in the justice delivery system,’ the statement indicated.
GBA called on the government and in particular, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning ‘as a matter of priority to address the concerns of the Judicial Service staff who already are underpaid and struggling to make ends meet by releasing their outstanding allowances due them for the normalization of justice delivery.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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