President John Mahama tells Ghanaians to avoid tagging the entire judiciary as corrupt while trying to deal with those found culpable in the judicial scandal.
Inaugurating the new courtroom complex started by the Late President John Atta Mills, which is set to replace the dilapidated Cocoa Affairs Court next week, President Mahama said he was confident that, majority of the judiciary has integrity despite the “dark cloud” hanging overhead.
“I am confident that the majority of our judges are people of integrity. These judges are the healthy tissues that must grow and overcome the cancerous cells invading our judicial organ”, he said.
The President also said Ghana’s judiciary has gained respect all over the world for the wisdom of our judges, their internationally-acclaimed judgments and their fearlessness, with many countries in the past, turning to Ghana for help in the administration of justice.
He cited the Chief Justice who spent time helping Kenya with judicial reforms, Justice Sophia Akuffo who served on the continental court of justice and Justice Mabel Agyemang who also served as Chief Justice of The Gambia.
“There are too many to mention who have made Ghana proud and in all my career as a political figure, I have twinned myself with pride anytime the accomplishments of our judicial personnel is recognized at international fora.”
Making a presentation, the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood also remarked that in the wake of the scandal which has marred the public’s perception of what the judiciary stands for, the good judges have unfortunately been bundled together with the bad.
She said that there are far many good judges and to add to that the judiciary will review its selection criteria for judges with a concentration on moral and ethical values to reflect its commitment to restoration.
The Chief Justice lauded 15 Appeals Court judges who have risen to the occasion to make up for the shortfall until normalcy is restored.
She appealed to Ghanaians to avoid attempting to pervert the course of justice and to report any persons believed to be in the business of selling or brokering the sale of justice.
“If you find yourself as an adversary in court, resist the temptation to find someone who knows a judge in order that you may obtain favours”, she said.
The huge five-storey disability-friendly building is said to house among other things, 43 modern courtrooms – land courts, divorce and matrimonial courts, probate and administration courts; three alternative dispute resolution rooms, offices for prosecutors, a press briefing room, a modern data and ICT centre, library, a 300-seater auditorium, a clinic, bank, registries, and a holding cell with capacity for about 100 suspects.
The $50 million building was financed by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), designed by Avantgarde Design Services and constructed by the Chinese Hualong Construction Limited.
By Emmanuel Odonkor