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New District Court for Senchi

A new District Court has been inaugurated at Senchi, in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.

His Lordship Justice William Atuguba, who represented the Lady Chief Justice, expressed her strong aspiration to provide courts with solar power to facilitate the delivery of justice.

“Solar powering of courts will greatly reduce the running costs of courts, especially in non urban parts of the country, since the Judiciary’s budgetary allocations are often overburdened by its administrative expenses”, he said.

The Judiciary and the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE have expressed the desire to work in unison to harness resources and complement the respective roles of the two institutions. Key areas they will be looking at in the short term are; Para-Legal training for NCCE Staff, implementation of the Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability (ARAP) Programme and the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP). This came to light when the Chairman of the NCCE Ms. Josephine Nkrumah together with her two Deputies and other management staff paid a courtesy call on the Chief Justice, Ms. Justice Sophia Akuffo in Accra.

The NCCE Chairman recalled the support of the Judiciary in the past, which included the provision of Para-Legal training for NCCE staff. This, Ms. Nkrumah commended, indicating that such training equipped staff with some knowledge on the workings of the Judiciary, the Laws of Ghana as well as decided cases that had legal bearing on the civic work of the Commission, especially those that shed light on provisions in the 1992 Constitution. She therefore asked for more support in that regard.

An integrated Case Tracking System is being considered for use by Ghana’s Justice Sector institutions. With initial support from USAID, the system is expected to improve information sharing and coordination among the country’s law enforcement and judicial authorities. It is as well expected to improve the ability to track criminal cases from their introduction into the system through to resolution.

At a meeting in Accra with top US officials to discuss the design and implementation of the tracking system, the leadership of the Justice sector looked at the pros and cons of such an initiative; how best each stakeholder could benefit to the fullest, mindful of immediate and remote challenges that may come with it.

In attendance were the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Gloria Akuffo, Minister for the Interior Ambrose Dery, the Inspector General of Police David Asante Apeatu and the US Ambassador Robert Jackson. Also present were the Judicial Secretary His Lordship Justice Alex Poku-Acheampong, A retired Justice of the Supreme Court Justice Brobbey, Justice of the High Court Justice Constant K. Hometowu and some technocrats from the Judicial Service, related institutions and the US Embassy.

 

Having served a record ten years, as first female Chief Justice and head of Ghana’s Judiciary and Judicial Service, the President of the Republic, deemed it appropriate to honour the retired and former Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, at a State dinner, at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra.

It was indeed a night of joy and outpouring of glowing tribute to the well-deserved States woman who officially retired on the eve of her 70th birthday June 8, 2017, after more than forty years of devoted service to the Judiciary and the Judicial Service.

At the high table with her were the current Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, the Vice President, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, the First Lady and the President, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo Addo.

The affable, outspoken and smart looking Septuagenarian, Justice Georgina Wood openly expressed her joy and gratitude to the President and all who have contributed to her success story amid cheers and dancing.

The Judicial Secretary, Mr. Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, has officially cut sod to commence work on an 18 million dollar multifunctional project, of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), at Sesemi near Abokobi, in the Ga East Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.

The project which is fully funded by JUSAG will have facilities including a thousand eight hundred (1,800) seating capacity conference hall, a seven-storey office complex, an eight-storey hostel with 120 rooms, a hotel, a restaurant, a gym, swimming pool, among other facilities. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

The Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia Akuffo has urged tax administrators, customs authorities, financial intelligence units and other law enforcement agencies to prepare adequately before cases are presented in court. “There must be no rush to present cases in court, unless the investigation is complete and the evidence is of sufficient quality and quantity to succeed”, she said.  

The Chief Justice, said this in a speech read on her behalf by His Lordship Justice William Atuguba, a Justice of the Supreme Court, at an international conference held in Accra, on “Countering Treaty and Transfer Pricing Abuse: The Tax and Financial Crime Dimension”.

Speaking on the topic: ‘The Role of the Judiciary in dealing with Tax and other Financial Crimes’, she attributed the cause of failure of some financial crime cases to incomplete investigations and sometimes outdated evidence procured during the trials. These law enforcement agencies must therefore see to it that all lose ends are properly tied before the commencement of trials, whether civil or criminal. This is critical, the Chief Justice noted since Judges are neutral arbiters who cannot give preferential treatment to any party.

Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo on Monday, June 19, 2017, was sworn in as the 13th Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.  She takes over from Her Ladyship Justice Georgina T. Wood whose tenure as Chief Justice expired on June 8, 2017 after serving in that capacity for 10 years.

Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo was born on 20th December 1949. She was educated at Parliament Hill School, Hampstead, London and Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast. She holds an LLB degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, and LLM from Harvard Law School, Massachusetts, USA. After qualifying as a Barrister-at-Law, in 1975, she performed her National Service at the Legal and Consular Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Justice Stephen Alan Brobbey, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, says the criminal justice system is very much under resourced; thereby hampering effective work.

This he said leads to the delay in criminal cases at the court, hence the need to take a second look at the criminal justice system. Justice Brobbey said this at the Martyrs Day Memorial Lecture held at the Supreme Court in Accra, to commemorate the gruesome murder of the three High Court Judges and a retired army officer 35 years ago. 

Speaking on the theme “Is the Law Driving Society or Society Driving the Law?” the retired Justice of the Supreme Court was of the view that the law is driven by society; as society changes and molds the law. “Society is dynamic and so should the law”, he noted.

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