President Akufo-Addo highlights key judicial sector achievements

President Akufo-Addo highlights key judicial sector achievements

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The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has at the commissioning event of the twelve-storey office complex of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice highlighted the significant strides his administration has made in strengthening Ghana’s judicial system.

Emphasizing the importance of the rule of law as the bedrock of any thriving democracy, the President detailed various initiatives aimed at modernizing and digitizing the country’s legal and judicial processes.

One of the key achievements President Akufo-Addo underscored was the introduction of electronic filing systems within the judiciary. This groundbreaking initiative has significantly reduced reliance on paper-based documentation and streamlined judicial processes. Lawyers and litigants can now file documents online, access case information, and receive real-time updates on their cases. This digital transformation has not only expedited the handling of cases but also enhanced transparency and accountability within the legal system, making justice more accessible and efficient for all Ghanaians.

In his address, President Akufo-Addo also highlighted the administration’s commitment to improving judicial infrastructure. Since taking office in 2017, the government has made unprecedented progress in the provision of court buildings and residences for judges across the country. In 2020, the administration embarked on an ambitious project to construct one hundred courthouses with residential facilities nationwide.

As of February 2024, seventy-nine courthouses had been successfully inaugurated and were in use at various sites, with the remaining twenty-one projects at different stages of completion and expected to be finished within the year. Additionally, one hundred and twenty-one residential units have been constructed for judges, and twenty fully furnished four-bedroom units, along with social amenities, have been built for Justices of the Court of Appeal in Kumasi.

“These efforts aim to address the perennial problem of insufficient court infrastructure in Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo stated. “We are committed to providing the necessary resources and environment to support our judiciary, ensuring that justice is administered fairly and efficiently.”

Beyond infrastructure, the Akufo-Addo administration has taken significant steps to enhance access to justice for all Ghanaians, regardless of their socio-economic status. Until 2022, the Legal Aid Commission had only six vehicles, the last of which was acquired in 2007. Through the intervention of the Attorney-General, a total of ninety-one vehicles have been procured for the Attorney-General’s Office, with thirteen of these delivered to the Legal Aid Commission.

This increase in resources has expanded the coverage of legal aid services, enabling indigent persons to obtain legal representation and advice. “This has gone a long way in bridging the justice delivery gap, ensuring that access to justice is not a privilege reserved for the few but a right enjoyed by all,” President Akufo-Addo emphasized.

The administration’s efforts to bolster the capacity of the Attorney-General’s Office have also yielded significant benefits. The office is now capable of handling numerous international arbitration cases without recourse to foreign or external counsel, representing a marked departure from previous practices.

This strengthened capacity has enabled the office to advocate effectively for Ghana’s interests on the international stage, achieving favorable outcomes and reducing the costs of proceedings. “This strategic enhancement underscores our commitment to self-reliance in legal matters and showcases the proficiency of domestic legal talent in managing complex international disputes,” the President remarked.

President Akufo-Addo also highlighted his administration’s unwavering commitment to fighting corruption. Recognizing that corruption thrives in an atmosphere conducive to concealment, the government has taken proactive measures to promote transparency and accountability. In its first term, the administration ensured the passage of the Right to Information Act, 2019, to foster a culture of transparency in public affairs.

Additionally, the Witness Protection Act, 2018, was enacted to offer protection to individuals cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases, particularly those involving public officials.

Further legislative measures include the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Act, 2020, which categorizes corruption as a felony and imposes stiffer penalties, and a series of other laws aimed at enhancing the state’s capacity to combat corruption. President Akufo-Addo emphasized that his administration would not set aside due process and the rules of natural justice in the fight against corruption, regardless of public opinion. “For my part, I will not set aside due process on the altar of the fight against corruption, no matter how much opprobrium this incurs for me,” he stated firmly.

The President concluded his address by calling on all Ghanaians to uphold the principles of justice, integrity, and the rule of law. He expressed his gratitude to all those who contributed to the realization of the Law House project and reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to fostering a just and prosperous society for all.

Credit: Nhyiraba Anelka

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