The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has assured management and staff of State Agencies who operate under his Ministry that a comprehensive programme aimed at retooling them to boost their efficiency will be rolled out under his tenure.
There are seven (7) State Agencies who operate directly under the Attorney General’s Department and they are the Council for Law Reporting, Legal Aid Commission, Registrar General’s Department, Economic and Organized Crime Office, Law Reform Commission, Copyright Office and the Ghana Law School.
The Attorney General since assuming office nearly a year ago, has so far visited all the Agencies with the exception of the Ghana Law School.
As part of his visiting schedule, the Attorney General (AG) made a stopover at the Law Reform Commission and the Copyright Office today the 4 February 2022, in the company of his two deputies, Diana Asonaba Dapaah and Mr. Alfred Tuah-Yeboah. Mrs Helen Ziwu, Ghana’s Solicitor-General was also part of the AG’s delegation.
The AG first visited the Copyright Office, who’s mandate is to promote and protect the rights of creators, where he interacted with the staff and management of the office.
In her submission, the Copyright Administrator, Madam Yaa Attafuah, indicated that the Copyright office is bedevilled with multiple logistical constrains such as vehicles, adequate and modern office facility, digital infrastructure, and sufficient legal officers.
She suggested that, the Copyright Office, if supported with the logistics it lacks, the organization has the potential of becoming a world class institution as is the case in other developed countries.
AG at Copyright Office
In his response, the AG, Godfred Yeboah Dame noted that, while making his way into the building of the Copyright office, the challenges really stirred him in the face as he was climbing the stairs.
“The difficulties that this office has been confronted with have been legendary. They have persisted for God knows how long, but I will indeed commit myself to ensuring that difficult as the challenges are, we will surmount them and deal with them in my tenure as Attorney General” Godfred Dame said.
On digital reforms, the AG, noted that it is time for the Copyright Office to start receiving deposits via electronic means by modernizing its operations.
He added that his office will support any administrative efforts that ought to be carried out in order to bring digital transformation to the Copyright office.
Law Reform Commission
At his next stop which was at the Law Reform Commission (LRC), the AG and his delegation were received by the Executive Director of the Commission, Mrs Anita Ababio.
In a presentation, Mrs Ababio, also listed the several logistics that they lack as a Commission. She mentioned that the Commission only has one car, ten (10) office rooms with a leaking roof, among other challenges.
She observed that the Law Reform Commission is currently working on multiple projects which are in the form of bills such as the long lasting succession bill and property rights of spouses, the draft bill on the registration of marriages and non-custodial sentencing, rent bill, aged care bill, draft Muslim marriage and divorce bill as well as the de-criminalization suicide bill.
With adequate support and supply of logistics, the Executive Director of the Commission believes that the institution will turn its fortune around and become an even more viable State institution.
AG at LRC
The AG, Godfred Yeboah Dame, was full of praise for the presentation that was done by the Executive Director of the Law Reform Commission.
He assured the LRC management that he will bring sweeping changes to the logistical constrains affecting their work.
Criminal Procedure Act
The AG charged the LRC to as a matter of urgency, take a critical look at reforming the entire Criminal Procedure Act, noting that, same “is long overdue”.
“It is a set rules that contributes to delay in criminal prosecution. Many a time, prosecution that is supposed for an offence that is to be tried summarily, takes about four years, five years as a result of the exploitation by counsel for the accused through appeals and all that” the Attorney General said.
“I think there ought to be an elimination of interlocutory appeals in criminal prosecutions procedures if you ask me. It is only perhaps, at the submission of no case stage that there ought to be such an opportunity” he added.
Law Reform Fund
On the setting of the law reform fund as required by section 10 of the Law Reform Commission Act, 2011 (Act 822), Godfred Dame, expressed surprise at the fact that it has not been set-up yet.
“That for me is a major omission on the part of the government. I think the Commission, in order for it to undertake its functions, ought to have the fund set-up as a matter of urgency” Dame stated.
“I commit myself to ensuring that the fund will be set up in accordance with the law and that the government will provide the seed money for fund to be able to operationalized” he added.