Government is constructing 98 courts and judges’ bungalows across the 16 regions of the country, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has disclosed.
These projects, President Akufo-Addo also said, would be funded through the District Assemblies Common Fund.
He made the disclosure yesterday at a ceremony to swear in 16 judges as justices of the High Court, an event held at Jubilee House, Accra.
In his remarks, President Akufo-Addo noted the inadequate numbers of courts in various parts of the country. This development, he said, results in citizens navigating long distances in order to gain access to the country’s courts.
He cited: “For example, there is no court between Adjabeng and Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region, neither is there a court between Adum in Kumasi and Asante Bekwai or Obuasi in the Ashanti Region.”
He further cited the huge number of cases pending at the three-storey court complex he commissioned about nine months ago at Frafraha, in Adentan, Accra, “and I am reliably informed that there are already some 3,000 cases pending there,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued: “That is why government, through the Administrator of the District Assembly, is constructing 98 courts and bungalows for judges in all 16 regions of the country.”
Giving the breakdown, the President said there would be eight courts and eight bungalows in Greater Accra; eight courts and eight bungalows in Volta; four courts and eight bungalows in Oti; twelve courts and ten bungalows in Eastern; and seven courts and eight bungalows in Western.
Additionally, there would be four courts and four bungalows in Western North; four courts and four bungalows in Central; five courts and five bungalows in North East; twenty courts and fourteen bungalows in Ashanti; eight courts and eight bungalows in Ahafo; four courts and six bungalows in Bono; and five courts and five bungalows in Bono East.
There would also be three courts and three bungalows in Northern; three courts and three bungalows in Savannah; two courts and two bungalows in Upper West; and three courts and three bungalows in Upper East.
Addressing the 16 justices specifically, the President reminded them to let the words of the judicial oath be their guiding principle.
“I say, it is essential that you demonstrate that you are honest, possess integrity and a sound knowledge of the law. The situation where judges proffer judgements on the basis of decisions from lower courts and cite them as law is not acceptable. And even less so, when judges cite no authority at all for their rulings and give orders without reasons. You must be learned; know your case law, and ensure your decisions and judgements are properly motivated,” he remarked.
He also stated that the dispensation of justice requires that application of the laws of the land must occur in the hallowed words of the judicial oath, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, that is, without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any person before you.
On the heels of the above, he indicated that: “When a citizen falls foul of the law, that citizen, high or low, must be dealt with accordingly, and the law enforcement agencies, including you, our new judges, must ensure this is done. That is the true meaning of the concept of equality before the law.”
Names of the new Justices of the High Court
The Justices of the High Court sworn in by the President are Her Honour Eva Bannerman-Williams, His Honour Emmanuel Bart-Plange Brew, His Honour Yaw Owoahene Acheampong, His Honour Samuel Boakye-Yiadom, His Honour Abdul Yusif Asibey,
Mrs. Elfreda Amy Dankyi, Mr. Samuel Faraday Johnson.
The rest are Ms. Sheila Minta, Her Honour Audrey Kocuvie-Tay, Nana Yaw Gyamfi Frimpong, Mr. Ernest Yao Gaewu, Mr. Solomon Oppong-Twumasi, Mr. Charles Bentum,
Mr. Joseph Adu-Owusu Agyeman, Mr. William Osei-Kuffour, and Mr. Douglas Seidu.
Expressing appreciation to the President for the honour done them, Her Honour Eva Bannerman-Williams pledged that they would work to justify the confidence reposed in them.
She was also grateful to the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council for the roles they played to ensure they were elevated.
She said: “As a third arm of the state, we have a special charge to uphold the laws of Ghana at all times and to ensure that we administer justice without fear or favour, ill-will or affection. We pledge today that we shall, with courage and integrity, discharge our duties faithfully, so as to continue to build on the firm foundation laid by our predecessors.”
Her Honour Audrey Kocuvie-Tay, who also spoke words of gratitude, said on behalf of her colleagues and herself, that they would work diligently and confidently to justify the confidence reposed in them.