General News of Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Chief Justice, Sophia Gloria Akuffo, has urged judges and other members of the judiciary in the country to uphold the values of integrity and truthfulness in the discharge of their duties in order to do away with the wrongful public perception that the judiciary is corrupt.
Justice Akuffo gave the advice two days ago in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo when she interacted with members of the judiciary on the High Court premises as part of her five-day tour of the region to acquaint herself with conditions under which court officials work.
The meeting also afforded members to ask questions regarding their condition of service and general wellbeing of the court system in the region.
Addressing the workers, which included judges, court registrars, court clerks and other officials, the CJ stressed the need for members of the judiciary to hold in high esteem the values of integrity truthfulness, sincerity, honesty, fairness, righteousness, genuineness, trustworthiness among other virtues in the justice delivery process in accordance with the constitution.
“This is all justice is about. Justice is a process so we must endeavour to work at it. By this, money should not be seen to exchange hands through the back door. All moneys paid on the court premises should be backed by law and this must be explained to all the people who come to the court premises. There should not be any justification on the part of any court official to receive any money that is not backed by law. You must do away with that to win back public confidence,” she said.
On her vision for the judiciary, she said, “I’m going to establish small systems that will work privately, by availing themselves to integrity and rules and regulations of the service. I envisage that by 2025, all courts in the country will use solar energy to improve upon power efficiency. The situation where there are frequent power outages impedes speedy adjudication.”
She said she had also decided to build modern infrastructure like courtrooms and optimal application of modern technology to enhance justice delivery.
Ms Sophia Akuffo was not happy because about 76 percent of court infrastructure such as courtrooms, staff accommodation and tools like computers, scanners, photocopiers and others were in deplorable conditions.
Therefore, she asked the district and municipal assemblies to live up to their responsibilities by providing these things.
To her, it is regrettable some of the assemblies are not even aware of their responsibilities.
In his welcome address, a supervising High Court Judge, Justice Patrick Baayeh, bemoaned the unpleasant manner in which the judiciary has been bedevilled with so many challenges, including lack of accommodation for judges, dilapidated courtrooms and broken down photocopiers.
He also said the number of circuit court judges in the region was not encouraging at all, adding that the whole region has seven judges, out of which only two are circuit court judges.
Justice Patrick Baayeh called for the intervention of the CJ who later inspected the Sunyani High Court building with her entourage.