Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood on Friday charged staff of the Judicial Service to lead the fight against corruption in the country.
She said the country was counting on the Judicial Service to save it from the ‘claws’ of corruption and asked the staff to start the fight from within and uphold values of integrity.
“If you don’t hide the dockets…, things will take a different turn in this country,” she said.
The Chief Justice was addressing the Chief Justice’s Forum – Staff Edition, in Ho on the theme: “Integrity: The Key to Effective Justice Delivery.”
She said; “It is unfortunate that workers in the judicial system are reckless or too wicked that even widows, we extort money from them. We don’t show mercy to them. Even for small ordinary document, we take money from them.”
She said though the salaries and working conditions of the staff were not too good, that did not warrant extortion of money from clients.
The Chief Justice said the December 2014 Afrobarometre Report indicated that 85 per cent of the Ghanaian public perceived judges and magistrate as corrupt and asked the staff to rise and save the image of the Service.
“We know that we have only 400 judges but about 6,000 workers who interact with people who come to the courts more often than the judges so this report might not necessarily be the judges…, the staff must rise and help build a judiciary we will all be happy and proud to be associated with,” she said.
Reverend Professor Seth Ayettey, a member of the Judicial Council, said the Afrobarometre report showed that public confidence in the Judiciary was waning and that it was time the staff rose to defend the profession.
He asked them to work and change the public’s corruption perception of the Service and resolve to build a nation of integrity inspired by the first verse of the National Anthem.
Rev. Prof. Ayettey, who quoted several Biblical verses on honesty, said innocent citizens would be at peace when they knew that staff of the Judicial Service worked with integrity.
He asked the staff to be firm, fair, principled, God-fearing and trustworthy, saying “men and women of integrity are priceless.”
Staff of the Service in the region were taken through Importance of Integrity among Court Staff, and the Importance of Adhering to Rules and Procedures.