Ghanaian lawyers told to ensure that their documents are genuine
The Judicial Secretary on Thursday advised lawyers to be vigilant on scams and ensure that documents emanating from their offices to foreign missions are genuine.
Mr Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong said this when 50 lawyers with 10 years’ experience and with high moral character at the Bar were given certificates of appointment as Notaries Public at a ceremony in Accra.
Mr Justice Opoku-Acheampong said the Judicial Service had received complaints from foreign missions in Ghana as well as the national security about lawyers who notarised documents they had not prepared themselves.
“The result is that such documents look questionable and do not also measure up to legal requirements and status.”
The Judicial Secretary therefore appealed to them not to notarise a signature of persons who had not appeared before them.
This, he said, would help them to protect their reputation and character since most of the documents were used outside the country.
Under the Notaries Public Act, 1960 (Act 26) the Chief Justice was empowered to appoint as Notary Public any person whom she considers fit and proper to discharge the duties assigned to that office by law or by practice of commerce.
A Notary, in almost all common law jurisdictions, is qualified and experienced practitioner trained in the drafting and execution of legal documents such as wills, leases, power of attorney and articles of partnership, among others.
They also administer oaths, certify documents, attest to the authenticity of signatures and perform official acts in commercial matters such as protecting negotiable instruments.
However, the Supreme Court is empowered under section 4 of the Act for reasonable cause, to suspend lawyers from practicing for any period and/or order the name of notaries to be struck off the roll of Notaries.
Administering official oath, Mr. Justice William A. Atuguba, a Supreme Court Judge, told the lawyers that their appointments would not only bring additional income but also enormous responsibility and skills.
“Failure to exercise due diligence, care and skills may lead to unpleasant consequence,” he added.
“You should be minded that if you wilfully certify or propound any false statement or documents or if you fraudulently and with intent to deceive, conceal withhold or prevent any act or document pertinent to the subject of a notorious act, you will be guilty of misdemeanour,” Mr Justice Atuguba said.
He urged lawyers to maintain a registry of all notorial acts performed by them to serve as record.
I LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES AND AFTER BEING SCAMMED VERY BADLY ON A GOLD DEAL AND THE POLICE IN ACCRA, GHANA TOLD THE MAN WHO TOOK THOUSANDS FROM ME WAS TOLD TO EITHER DELIVER THIS GOLD TO ME OR GO TO JAIL.
I HIRED AN ACCRA LAWYER NAMED TOM ROBERTS, WHO AT TIMES HAS BEEN HELPFUL , BUT HAS KEPT ME IN THE DARK ABOUT NEARLY EVERYTHING AND HE HAS, IN FACT, NOW RECEIVED CLOSE TO $4,000 FROM ME AND I HAVEN’T RECEIVED THE DELIVERY OF THE GOLD AFTER TWO MONTHS NOW. . I WAS TOLD A NEW CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN WAS NEEDED WHICH I SENT $900 FOR. I HAVE ASKED ROBERTS 20 TIMES FOR A COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE AND EVEN SENT HIM $70 SO HE COULD SEND ME THE ORIGINAL THROUGH DHL. AFTER 6 WEEKS HE STILL HASN’T EMAILED ME A COPY AND NEVER SENT ME THE ORIGINAL WHICH I PAID FOR.
WHEN DEALING WITH THE MAN WHO IS SUPPOSED TO DELIVER THIS GOLD TO ME, ROBERTS WON’T LET ME HAVE ANY INFORMATION LIKE HIS PHONE NMBER AND WHERE HE IS STAYING. I WAS TOLD A MONTH AGO THAT THE GOLD WAS 20 MINUTES AWAY BUT WHEN HE ASKED, ROBERTS WILL NOT LET ME KNOW WHERE OR THE NAME, PHONE NUMBER AND ADDRESS OF THE PLACE THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE KEEPING THE GOLD. EVERYTHING IS A SECRET BETWEEN ROBERTS AND A MAN NAMED PATWILLS, WHO IS THE MAN WHO STOLE THOUSANDS FROM ME THROUGH THIS GOLD SCAM. ROBERTS TREATS PATWILLS MORE LIKE HIS CLIENT THAN ME. I DON’T KNOW IF NOW ROBERTS IS IN ON THIS SCAM OR WHAT IS GOING ON. BUT HE SURE DOESN’T TREAT ME LIKE HIS CLIENT. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE WITH THIS SITUATION AND ALTHOUGH I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE TO TELL ABOUT IT BUT I’M DESPERATE.