Ghana’s Legal Aid Scheme on Monday received ten computers, ten printers and two laptops from law students of Fordham University in the United States of America in Accra to enhance efficient legal service delivery in the country.
Mr Al-Hassan Yahaya Seini, Director of Legal Aid, who received the items from Professor Paolo Galizzi on behalf of the students, said the donation was the outcome of an encounter the Scheme had with the Fordham University two years ago when they became aware of the plight of the Scheme in offering effective legal services to the vulnerable in society.
He stated that the work of the Legal Aid Scheme had been hampered by inadequate equipment and other resources and that the donation was a great relieve.
Mr Seini said the University had been very supportive and was committed to the course of helping the Scheme to provide quality and effective legal services to the ordinary citizen, who could not afford to pay for their rights to be protected.
He expressed gratitude to the students for their support, adding that their gesture would also enhance the work of the Scheme at the grassroots because the equipment would be shared among each of the ten regional offices of the Legal Aid Scheme in the country.
Justice William Atuguba, Chairman of the Legal Aid Board, stated that the donation could not have come at a better time and described it as the biggest intervention in the history of the Legal Aid Scheme and the country.
He said he found out after assuming office as the Chairman of the Board that the Scheme could not deliver efficiently because it lacked the necessary resources like computers, personnel and other logistics and the private sector became the only avenue for them to solicit for assistance.
“…a lot is to be done if the Scheme will be able to play its envisaged roles” he added.
Justice Atuguba announced that plans were underway to organise a Legal Aid Week to educate the public on the functions of the Scheme as well as to highlight the constraints it faced in delivering its duties.
He called on the media to collaborate with the Scheme to help to educate the public on its activities and for them to know how far it had gone in tackling some of the problems it encounters.
Mr Paolo Galizzi, Professor of Law at Fordham University said the University saw it as a responsibility to help the Scheme to deliver legal services in the country, especially to the less privileged in the society.
He stated that the University realized the condition under, which the Legal Aid Scheme worked and so the students decided to collaborate and to contribute towards the purchase of the items.
He said the contribution of the students of Fordham Law School should serve as a challenge to students in the country, especially law students to also strive to put resources together to support institutions like the Legal Aid Scheme.
The Legal Aid Scheme was established to serve as a public defender of the poor and for citizens who are arrested, restricted or detained to be accorded legal rights.