The Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia Akuffo has issued a strong warning to judges, magistrates and staff of the judiciary to “flee” from corruption because it undermined the rationale for the existence of the judiciary and erodes public trust and confidence.
She had consequently assured Ghanaians that the Service would continually explore more effective responses and severe penalties to completely eradicate the menace of corruption from the judiciary.
Ms Akuffo gave the warning when she launched the Public Complaint Unit and Anti- Corruption Campaign in Cape Coast, the ancient capital of the central region on Tuesday as part of her five-day working visit to the region.
She said public complain unit which was established in 2003 to promote good governance, transparency and fair administering of justice had been decentralised to all regions and hoped that it would further embrace the local people.
The Chief Justice reiterated the commitment of the judiciary to address and eradicate all forms of corruption and ensure that opportunities were not created for corruption to thrive.
“The judiciary takes complaints of corruption extremely seriously and will submit anyone against who a valid complaint is made to the disciplinary process in terms of the law and in the case of superior court judges, in terms of the impeachment procedure set out in the constitution” she stated.
“Corruption cannot and will not be tolerated because it leads to self-help and self-help breaks down law and order and break down of law and order, collapses nation. Therefore we are taking it very seriously” she added.
The Chief Justice said the judiciary regarded the integrity of judges, magistrates and staff of the judicial service as critical and has therefore increased its focus on ethics and integrity to ensure that only the best were appointed to positions of authority.
In this regard, she said a new recruitment procedure had been introduced to ensure that persons who got appointed as judges and magistrates were committed and of highest standard.
The Chief Justice admonished judges and staff of the judiciary to be role models to the public to generate public confidence in the judicial system.
Giving an overview of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan of the Judiciary, Justice Kwesi Dapaah, the Supervising High Court Judge in the Central Region said the Complaints Unit was one of the strategic plan to fight corruption.
He said the unit would receive genuine complaints of corruptible practices by judicial staff from the general public and urged court users and stakeholders to direct all complaints to the unit them to be dealt with accordingly.
He said the judiciary would undertake constant training for judges to conscientise them about their work ethics, efficiency and transparent judgement.
Mr. Kwamena Duncan, Central Regional Minister expressed his willingness to support the Judiciary in terms of infrastructure and logistics.
He also appealed to the Chief Justice to regularly update the public on the number of cases of corruption on the part of the judicial staff and their outcomes.
Justice Angeline Kormachari, Director of Public Complaints of the Judicial Service stressed the need for the judicial service to have internal mechanisms of dealing with corruption for the public to have confidence in the country’s judicial system.