General News of Thursday, 5 October 2017
The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has described the non payment of the Judicial Service budgetary allocation for more than two quarters as alarming and a major disincentive to justice delivery.
The Association noted that the judiciary stood in a special position in entrenching rule of law as such they should be provided with basic supporting tools for their work.
“Rule of law will surely suffer if the judiciary is continuously treated shabbily the way it has been done all these years. I must be quick to state this chosen noble profession of ours has been attended with massive unfulfilled conditions of our engage by successive government.”
Justice Victor Ofoe, President of AMJG said at the Annual General Meeting of the AMJG in Accra dubbed: “Judiciary, A Bastion of Democracy.”
The AGM would afford members the opportunity to take stock of their activities over the year and also chart a course for the ensuing year. Members would be educated on their personal security and would tap the experiences of some retirees.
The President of AMJG noted that over the years the Judges and Magistrates have been calling on governments to honour their part of the bargain by providing for their requirements, “even the basic, for a more efficient discharge of our duties. Unfortunately, out cries are never heard.”
Mr Justice Ofoe question how a judge would have the peace of mind to work if he owed his landlord 10 month of rent arrears and also queried how he should personally fuel their officially assigned vehicle in performing his duties as a judge.
He therefore appealed to government to relieve the sorrowful financial embarrassment that members had lived with since 2013.
Mr Justice Ofoe urged members of the Association to be patient as they would wade through all bureaucratic structures of the public service in order to find solutions to their plight.
Touching on security of Judges, Mr Justice Ofoe said too many residences and court houses were exposed thereby creating a very heavy sense of insecurity to those especially in the hinterlands.
“In several areas the compounds of judges have been made a thoroughfare because they were not walled.
“So the convicts return from prison to come and peep though any part of the window on my building to view my room freely”.
The President of AMJG noted with regret that a city like Tema had no police presence during court sitting hours.
According to him the presence of visible security presence, could save the court and judges the cases of violence which sometimes happen in court houses.
Mr Justice Ofoe who spoke about the theme of the AGM, noted that depriving the judiciary of basic necessities in their work would not help them to serve as the fortress, stronghold or bastion of democratic dispensation.
He tasked his colleagues to conduct a review of their adjudicating processes so that the public would accord them the reference of bastion of Ghana’s democracy.
According to him, interrogation of trial processes could not be carried out without the input of the Ghana Bar Association and the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG).
Mr Justice Ofoe said there was a mentoring programme among members so that newly appointed magistrates would not be lone rangers in their corner in adjudicating cases.
“Mentor should be at their rescue anytime the need arose,” he added.
The President of AMJG urged members to abhor individualism in order to avoid any embarrassment.
He announced that the Association would work hard to ensure that retirees got their benefits without roaming on the corridors of public servants.
He said issues concerning salaries and career magistrates’ progression were being looked at by the Judicial Council and the final recommendation would be submitted to the Presidency.
Mr Alex Nartey, President of Judicial Services Association of Ghana (JUSAG) in a fraternal message said the courts if given appropriate logistics would be able to deliver, adding that “no computer, no stationary would undermine our role.”