Friday, 19 July

It’s unacceptable for our Ivy League attorneys to be operating from shipping containers – AG

General News
Attorney General Godfred Dame

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, says the dreadful infrastructural and logistic hardship facing his ministry were legendary as some state attorneys had to operate from shipping “containers.”

“I considered it very deplorable. I deem it unacceptable for attorneys who assist important institutions of state navigate the myriad of legal challenges they are confronted with, and some of whom were Ivy League Scholars to be using containers as their offices. I daresay that the era where regional offices of the Office of the Attorney and Ministry of Justice and other agencies of the Ministry perched in the corner of buildings belonging to other government institutions or were sometimes thrown out of premises in which they are licensees should be over soon.”

Mr Dame said this at the commissioning of a 12-storey building, named, The Law House, which will function as the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, in Accra.

The construction of the edifice commenced 24 years ago.

He held that every regional office of the Ministry of Justice ought to own at least a three-storey office.

According to him, he has commenced discussions with the World Bank about the possibility of funding the projects.

The AG said he would spearhead efforts to obtain funding for the construction of a modern permanent office for the Legal Aid Commission.

Mr Dame said he would relinquish the use of the former office block of the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice for the Legal Aid Commission to use as its office.

He said the ministry would strengthen the litigating capacity of attorneys to match the demands of civil litigation, including international arbitration and cases in foreign courts and tribunals.

According to him, the quality of representation of the state by the Office of the Attorney General has considerably increased, as the state holds its own in most international arbitration without the aid of foreign counsel.

“Even though the last four years has seen an extraordinary upsurge in international arbitration cases against the state, conspicuously , the state has emerged victorious in all the awards.

He said Ghana could not have a modern legal service without a fully functional digitized working environment, adding, it had commenced the operationalization of the Integrated Information Management System for the Office of the Attorney–General and Ministry of Justice.

“We cannot allow paper to clutter our working environment and destroy the beauty of what we have done with the Law House.”

He said it was important that the industry of state attorneys be properly complemented with resources to discharge their duties.

“It is my hope that today marks the beginning of the realization of the quest to set up an efficient modern public legal service.”

Mr Yaw Boafo, President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), said the Law House edifice was one of the biggest investments ever made in the Office of the Attorney General.

Mr Boafo said the edifice should serve as a reference point and a beacon of excellence and called for similar infrastructure in regions and districts.

According to him, the state of the Offices of the Attorney General across the country were “not fit for purpose.”

“We should break away from the phenomenon of development only in Accra. The time has also come for the establishment of district and regional offices of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice.”

The GBA President called for the employment of more attorneys to take away some prosecutorial functions from the Police.

According to him, some cases handled by the Police have led to the discharge of some accused persons, adding that if those matters were handled by State Attorneys the outcome would have been positive.

 

Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo called for the replication of similar edifices across the country.

Source: GNA