President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the government, through the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, is constructing 98 courts and bungalows for judges in all the 16 regions in Ghana.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the government has also taken note of the inadequate numbers of courts in various parts of the country, resulting in citizens traversing long distances in order to gain access to the country’s courts.
“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. Indeed, it has been barely nine (9) months since I commissioned the three-storey Court Complex at Frafraha, in Adenta, Accra, and I am reliably informed that there are already some three thousand cases pending there,” he said.
Swearing into office 16 new Justices of the High Court on Wednesday, 16th September 2020, at a ceremony at Jubilee House, the seat of the nation’s presidency, the President said there would be eight (8) courts and eight (8) bungalows in Greater Accra; eight (8) courts and eight (8) bungalows in Volta; four (4) courts and eight (4) bungalows in Oti; twelve (12) courts and ten (10) bungalows in Eastern; and seven (7) courts and eight (7) bungalows in Western.
Additionally, there would be four (4) courts and four (4) bungalows in Western North; four (4) courts and four (4) bungalows in Central; five (5) courts and five (5) bungalows in North East; twenty (20) courts and fourteen (14) bungalows in Ashanti; eight (8) courts and eight (8) bungalows in Ahafo; four (4) courts and six (4) bungalows in Bono; and five (5) courts and five (5) bungalows in Bono East.
There would also be three (3) courts and three (3) bungalows in Northern; three (3) courts and three (3) bungalows in Savanna; two (2) courts and two (2) bungalows in Upper West; and three (3) courts and three (3) bungalows in Upper East.
To the 16 Justices, the President reminded them 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.
“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,” he said.
To assist them on this path, President Akufo-Addo stated that his government, since his assumption of office, has, since my assumption of office, introduced a number of policy measures to help bridge the technology-gap, explaining that they are necessary to shore up the nation’s reputation as a country governed in accordance with the rule of law.
“That is why, last year, I launched the e-justice system, which is designed to leverage technology in the delivery of justice. I encourage all of you to take full advantage of the e-justice system, to expedite the conduct of cases that come before you, and in the management of the court. The transparent and efficient delivery of justice builds confidence in citizens, businesses and the investor community,” he added.
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, 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.
With the High Court having “jurisdiction in all matters, and, in particular, in civil and criminal matters, and such original, appellate and other jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by this Constitution or any other law”, and also “jurisdiction to enforce the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms guaranteed by this Constitution”, he noted that much of judicial work begins and ends there.
“It is, therefore, critical for the growth of the nation that the High Court commands the respect of the people by the quality of its justice, as well as by the comportment of its judges,” he added.