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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

We’ve Made Unprecedented Investments In Judiciary – Nana

President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that his government has made unprecedented progress in the provision of facilities for the Judiciary in a bid to improve on quality of justice delivery in the country.

This, he said is in the areas of infrastructure – courthouses, residential facilities for Judges, and the introduction of digitalization which has significantly improved the administration of justice across the country.

“We have made unprecedented progress in the provision of court buildings and residences for judges around the country,” the President said while delivering his last State of the Nation Address in Parliament today.

President Akufo-Addo said in 2020, the government set out to construct 100 courthouses with residential facilities nationwide, and as at January 31, 2024, 67 courthouses had been successfully inaugurated, and are in use at various sites around the country.

“Twelve completed projects have been slated for inauguration by the end of February 2024. The remaining 21 projects are at various stages of completion, and are expected to be completed and inaugurated before May 2024,” the President said.

He continued that 121 residential units have been constructed for judges throughout the country.

“Further, twenty (20) fully furnished 4-bedroom units, together with social amenities, have been constructed for Justices of the Court of Appeal in Kumasi.”

He said the project is not complete yet, but the government has done enough to be able to say that it has resolved the problem of the “disgraceful state of court buildings.”

Human Resource

The President also indicates that a total of 76 Judges and Magistrates were appointed in the past year, including. They comprised a new Chief Justice, two (2) new Justices of the Supreme Court, 23 new High Court Judges, 29 new Circuit Court Judges, and twenty-one (21) new Magistrates.

“Two hundred and sixty-two (262) staff were recruited to address some of the human resource gaps created because of the newly established courts throughout the country. In January 2024, three (3) additional Justices have been appointed to the Supreme Court to replace three (3) Justices who have retired from the Court,” he added.

Digitalization

President Akufo-Addo also indicated that the attention now is on the digitalisation process of the courts to modernise the entire system.

He said the Judicial Service has undertaken a digitalisation initiative to modernise legal operations and foster greater access to justice.

President Akufo-Addo said a virtual court system was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the continuity of business.

The virtual court system was rolled out to seventeen (17) courts, and then, subsequently, to nineteen (19) High Courts for the smooth hearing of court cases.

“By the end of December 2023, one hundred and sixty (160) courts had been equipped with devices for the real-time transcription of cases, in addition to fifty-one (51) courts piloting the paperless court system in Accra. The integration of real-time transcription devices in one hundred and sixty (160) courts has revolutionised how court proceedings are recorded and documented,” said.

He added, “The service is rolling out a comprehensive digitalisation of the court system.”

Attorney General Saves Ghana GH¢10 Trillion

President Akuffo-Addo extolled the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, for continuing in a very effective manner, the tradition under this administration of contesting every civil litigation against the state, and has avoided the numerous judgement debts that used to be given against the state.

“The Office, as a result, has saved the country over ten trillion Ghana cedis (GH¢10 trillion),” he disclosed.

The President added that he shall in a few weeks’ time, commission the Law House, the 12-storey office building, which will house the offices of the Attorney-General and his Ministry, and, finally, bring an end to the age-old office accommodation problem.

“I must declare a personal interest in it, as the building was started when I was Attorney-General in the Government of President John Agyekum Kufuor, back in 2001,” the President added.

 

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

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