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Judiciary: We’re ready to handle all cases from Public Accounts Committee

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The Judiciary on Monday said it was ready to handle all cases emanating from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

However, no cases from the PAC had yet been put before the Financial and Economic Crimes Court, it said in a statement signed by Mr George Dove of the Judicial Service.

The statement said at a roundtable conference organised by PAC in March 2010, two justices from the Financial and Economic Crimes Court in their papers had recommended that cases emanating out from PAC should be placed before it court for trial.

The statement said the capacity of judges presiding over the courts had been built both locally and internationally.

It described as “false” a statement that Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood had made no effort to set up the Financial Tribunal as envisaged under the Act 654 (as amended).

The Judiciary noted that Parliament, by amending Sections 66 (1), 67, 74 and the repeal of Section 70 of Act 654 substituted by the Financial Administration Tribunal with the Financial Administration Court which would appear to be in breach of article 126(1)(a) of the Constitution.

It said the attention of the relevant stakeholders and PAC had been drawn to this apparent anomaly.

“Whilst waiting for the necessary amendment, if any, to be effected, the Honourable Chief Justice in exercise of the powers conferred on her by Articles 125 (4) and 139 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana created the Financial and Economic Crimes Court as a division of the High Court.

“These courts are located in the Specialised High Courts building in Accra and Kumasi and are presided over by Justices of the High Court, with the jurisdiction to hear cases from the Public Accounts Committee.”

The statement said by reason of Article 140, the Financial and Economic Crimes Court being a division of the High Court had the jurisdiction in all matters, both civil and criminal, including those offences created under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), the Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654) as amended and the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).

The rest are the Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658), Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 Act 749); Electronic Transaction, Act 2008 (Act772) and Economic Organised Crimes, 2010 (Act 804) in addition to any other jurisdiction conferred on the court by any enactment.

It said upon the establishment of the Financial and Economic Crime Court, cases, such as wilfully causing financial loss to the state, stealing embezzlement of public funds and corruption among other cases had been dealt with by these courts while some were still pending for trial.

“It needs to be emphasised that the bulk of the cases that are filed and prosecuted before the courts from the Economic and Organised Crimes Office,” it said.

Source: GNA

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