Ministry of Justice will render transparent legal services – Amidu
Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu,the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, has pledged commitment of the staff to render to Ghanaians legal services of a professional nature based on transparency and accountability.
He said “There are great challenges ahead but given the level of commitment shown by my team, I am confident that the Office will render to the good people of Ghana, legal services of a professional nature based on transparency and accountability”.
Mr Amidu made the pledge when addressing the Meet-The-Press to highlight activities and achievements of the Ministry in Accra.
The challenges include inadequate budgetary funds, lack of qualified staff, logistics and equipment and basic research materials.
He announced that Companies Bill and Public Officers’ (Code of Conduct) Bill were before Cabinet while the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, Intestate Succession Bill, Presidential Transition Bill and Right to Information Bill were at the Committee Stage in Parliament.
“Contract Bill, Enforcement of Foreign Judgement Bill, Muslim Marriages Bill, Retention of Fees Bill, Trade Mark (Amendment) Bill, Defamation Bill, Ghana School of Law Bill and the Trusts and Non-profit Civil Society Organizations Bill are the various stages of preparation,” he said.
Mr Amidu said the Copyright Office with support from the World Intellectual Property Organisation had registered and automated 347 works from January to August, 2011.
He said there was the need to establish a Copyright Tribunal, a National Folklore Board, and re-introduce security devices to distinguish genuine musical and audiovisual works from pirated ones.
The Sector Minister announced that Office of the Legal Aid Scheme, Registrar General’s Department, Law reform Commission, Council for Law reporting and the Ghana School of Law, all under the Ministry were performing well in spite of the numerous challenges facing them.
The Office of Legal Aid Scheme provided Legal Services for 7,012 people in 2010 as against 6,612 in 2009 while Registrar General’s Department registered 43,482 businesses during the same period and received 22 patent and 2,583 applications for trade mark registration.
“A total of 2,983 marriages were celebrated and registered by the Department during 2010 and has also administered the estates of some 573 families, disbursing about GH¢16,021,865.16 as survivor’s benefit,” he added.
Mr Amidu announced that in 2010 the Department collected GH¢13, 688,648.82 exceeding its target by GH¢3, 188,648.80.
He said as a short term measure to address the increasing number of applicants to the professional Law Programme in Ghana School of Law, two additional campuses were established in Kumasi and Legon in October. 2009.
Mr Amidu said the School had acquired a five-acre plot of land at the University of Ghana, Legon and was initiating steps to acquire land in Kumasi to provide more permanent accommodation for the two campuses.
“As a measure aimed at absorbing the continuous increase in the number of students who gain admission to the School, a six-storey lecture theatre and library complex has been conceived to deal with the problem.
“The necessary drawings have been made and the Public Procurement Authority has granted approval to the school to single-source Energo-Projekt (EP) Ghana Limited to execute the project at a contract sum of GH¢21,142,015.44. The complex will be built on the main campus near Makola, Accra,” he said.
On crime, Mr Amidu said the Prosecutions Division of the Ministry handled 151 robbery cases in 2010 as against 76 between January-July this year, 87 narcotics cases in 2010 as against 45 between January-July 2011.
He said the “Justice For all Programme” was adopted to decongest the country’s prisons of remand prisoners and was dealing with four thematic areas, remand review, sentencing review, prosecutor’s capacity building and systems and procedures analysis projects.
Mr Amidu said from July 29 to August 1, 2011 the Special courts dealt with 245 cases at Nsawam Medium Security Prisons out of which 71 were discharged, 75 were granted bail, nine were convicted and 90 applications were refused, withdrawn or adjourned to a later date.
He assured the public that the programme was still on course and would continue to ensure that no individual suffers unjustifiably in the prison.