General News of Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Source: Daily Graphic
Five hundred members of the Association of Magistrates and Judges are threatening to embark on a nationwide strike over unpaid allowances.
Another issue they are grappling with is the non-payment of benefits due superior court justices under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
According to a highly placed source, superior court judges, just like Members of Parliament and other Article 71 office holders, are entitled to some benefits after every four years of service.
“Our members have not been paid since December 2016, although other Article 71 office holders have been settled,” the source told the Daily Graphic on Monday.
Other Article 71 office holders include the Speaker of Parliament and his/her deputies, the Chief Justice and the justices of the superior courts, the Auditor-General, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and his/her deputies, the Commissioner of CHRAJ and the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, among others.
According to the source, other allowances, such as book and fuel, were yet to be paid to judges on the lower and superior benches.
The allowances, it said, had been outstanding since January 2017.
“Our members are struggling to fuel their vehicles and buy law books which are usually expensive and are, therefore, imploring the government to take immediate steps to settle us,” it said.
According to the source, the Ministry of Finance had given several assurances to release the funds but nothing had been done.
“The latest assurance was given three months ago but we are yet to receive what is due us. We have been patient enough but it appears our cries have not been heard.
“We are, by this notice, urging the government to take immediate steps to pay us our due, it prayed.
Responding to the concerns raised by the Judges and Magistrates Association, a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, said this attention had been drawn to the issue and that he would follow up on it.
Reports reaching Daily Graphic at the time of going to press indicated that all Article 71 office holders who had not received their ex gratia were also planning to drag the government to court to demand their benefits.