Saturday, 20 April

Akufo-Addo: AG has saved Ghana ¢10 trillion in judgment debts

Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the office of the Attorney General has saved Ghana GH¢10 trillion in judgment debts.

In his last State of the Nation Address to parliament on Tuesday, 27 February 2024, Mr Akufo-Addo told parliament: "The Attorney General has continued, 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 announced.

Speaking generally on the justice system, he said: "I am pleased to report on the progress we are making in the administration of justice."

Providing details, he said: "This past year, a total of seventy-six (76) Judges and Magistrates were appointed. They comprised a new Chief Justice, two (2) new Justices of the Supreme Court, twenty-three (23) new High Court Judges, twenty-nine (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".

He mentioned that 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.

"We have made unprecedented progress in the provision of court buildings and residences for judges around the country."

Also, he said, in 2020, the government set out to construct one hundred (100) courthouses with residential facilities nationwide.

"As at 31st January 2024, sixty-seven (67) courthouses had been successfully inaugurated, and are in use at various sites around the country."

"Twelve (12) completed projects have been slated for inauguration by the end of this month of February 2024. The remaining twenty-one (21) projects are at various stages of completion, and are expected to be completed and inaugurated before May 2024."

In addition, he said one hundred and twenty-one (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.

The project, the president added, "is not complete yet, but we have done enough to be able to say that we have resolved the problem of the disgraceful state of court buildings". The attention now, he noted, "is to the digitalisation process of the courts to modernise the entire system."

"The Judicial Service has undertaken a digitalisation initiative to modernise legal operations, and foster greater access to justice. 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 the way in which court proceedings are recorded and documented. The service is rolling out a comprehensive digitalisation of the court system."

"I shall be performing a pleasant duty, in a few weeks’ time, when I commission the Law House, the twelve (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."