Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo
Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has reiterated the need for the judiciary to be adequately resourced to be able to play its crucial role of administering justice effectively.
According to her, successive governments over the years consistently relegated to the background the needs of the judiciary but focused on themselves and the other arm – the legislature.
In her view, the sizeable parts of funding are given to the executive and the legislature whiles the judiciary is left to its fate with peanut funding, which is not enough to run its affairs.
Speaking at the 2018 Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law Conference in Accra, the Chief Justice called for a shift in dynamics to ensure that the adjudicatory arm of government is well resourced so that it can deliver on its mandate.
Mrs Sophia Akuffo described as “pathetic” how the judiciary is bottom-fed after the other two arms of government have had their needs attended to and the “scraps” given to it (judiciary).
“It is important that the financing of the judiciary should be given serious consideration. We cannot continue to be some pathetic backroom part of governance where after everything has been served out and enjoyed, then we get the scraps. That cannot happen,” the CJ lamented.
Justice Akuffo noted that the judiciary does not need a huge budgetary allocation to perform its duties and emphasised the need for government to resource it to function efficiently.
The CJ’s concerns have come at a time the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and other civil society organisations continue to raise concerns about lack of funds for the judiciary and how the phenomenon is possibly delaying the delivery of justice.
It is an open secret that most of the court buildings in the country need some rehabilitation and successive governments seem to have done very little about the situation
She stated that the call for adequate resourcing of the judiciary is borne out of genuine concerns for the government to provide adequate infrastructure and funding which invariably will result in the administration of justice with full competence.
“If they (government) really take a look, they will see that we are the most frugal of the governance institutions and when we say we need, we do need, so that we will be able to run and administer justice to the people of Ghana with full competence,” CJ Sophia Akuffo stressed.
She made a startling revelation that the judiciary would from next month begin the digitisation of the court system in the country.
This, she said, would open the door for easy appeal of cases right from the lower courts to the Supreme Court.
Justice Akuffo, who was excited about the digitisation drive, expressed optimism that all courts in the country would be connected to the system by the end of her tenure in December 2019.
“Most of the time the delay is because of records. If, right from the beginning, the records are electronically captured, that is half the problem solved.
“The more technology you pump into a procedure-bound process, such as the legal and judicial process, the less you create opportunities for corruption to tamper with the delivery of our services,” the CJ indicated.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak