Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, on Tuesday launched Ghana’s first electronic Integrated Criminal Justice Case-Tracking System to support key stakeholders in the justice delivery system to collect, collate and harmonise statistical data for effective justice delivery.
The project has a special focus on crimes related to corruption, border security, maritime security and cybercrime, aimed at improving transparency, accountability and management of the country’s justice delivery system, and to boost the confidence of the citizenry in the Judiciary.
Addressing key stakeholders at the launch, in Accra, Dr Bawumia said the project was of great significance to the nation as its successful implementation would enhance the quality of the justice delivery system and boost the robustness of the judicial processes.
He therefore, reiterated government’s commitment to harness the potentials of information communication technology (ICT) to address the challenges facing the justice delivery system.
The Case-Tracking System is a Government’s of Ghana Project with support from the United States Agency for International Development intended to promote inter-agency collaboration and information sharing through an integrated information communication platform.
It will enable the key actors in the justice delivery system such as the Ghana Police Service, the Prison Service, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Economic and Organised Crime Office and the Legal Aid, to electronically access and track the various stages of the criminal cases from the point of arrest, investigations, prosecution, conviction rehabilitation and release.
“Electronic Case-Tracking Project: A Collaborative Effort” was the theme chosen for the launch, which attracted key stakeholders in the justice system, including Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Abena Boafo Akuffo, the Chief Justice and Madam Gloria Efua Akuffo, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, as well as Ambassador Robert Porter Jackson, the US Ambassador to Ghana and the Diplomatic Community.
Vice President Bawumia said over the year, the country’s justice delivery system had suffered weak inter-agency coordination and communication, which needed to be tackled urgently to ensure timeous dispensation of justice.
He said in the work of the administration of justice, the citizens expected fair, judicious and equal treatment of the law to all citizens and it was prudent to ensure efficient and effective judicial processes.
Dr Bawumia noted: “For peace to be maintained among the citizens for our collective sense that we live in a good society, citizens must have reasonable faith that, the courts are able to dispense justice impartially, speedily and efficiently.
“For investors to have confidence in an economy, it must be certain that commercial disputes would be fairly and efficiently adjudicated”.
The Vice President reminded the key actors in the justice system that undue delays in dispensing justice was a recipe for chaos and disorderliness and, therefore, urged them not to take their work for granted because their everyday decisions and administrative processes were consequential for the lives of the many citizens and corporate institutions.
He said it was time the nation dealt with the challenge of the backlog of cases in the justice sector, which had been a matter of concern for the people and the government, adding that the system would help to address the bottlenecks.
The Vice President expressed optimism that with the activation of the system, there would be clear and accountable tracking of criminal cases, and also monitor the overall performance of the key actors within the justice system and appropriately channel resources to them, in order to improve the standard.
He said the Project was in tandem with other electronic programmes implemented in the past with the support of the development partners including; the United Nations Development Programme Judicial Sector Reform, the DANIDA Right to Services and Good Governance Programme and the World Bank’ e-Transform, e-Justice Programme, intended to improve the nation’s justice delivery system.
He said the execution of the Project has the potential of generating immense benefits to the country in seeking to fulfil the ends of criminal law that is essential for promoting peace, security and tranquillity within the society.
He said it would generate reliable and statistical data on the criminal justice system that would be useful for the various stakeholders including; public institutions, academia and civil society organisations for strategic planning, saying that efficient justice system was a priceless public good.
According to him, the unveiling of the programme had given further impetus to the government to place ICT at the heart of all economic processes and outlined various initiatives instituted by the government to achieve digital transformation of the economy.
He mentioned various initiatives such as the paperless ports system, e-business registration and certification, smart drivers’ licensing and property addressing system, as well as other programmes that are yet to be rolled out to benefit the tracking project.
Vice President Bawumia noted that there were unscrupulous elements in the justice delivery system that benefitted immensely from the status quo and, would therefore, fiercely fight the new system.
“It is going to hurt the fortunes of some selfish, corrupt and unpatriotic actors in the justice delivery chain who would therefore like to do everything to sabotage the process;” he noted.
He, therefore, urged the key stakeholders co-operate to ensure the successful implementation of the project and assured government’s support towards its sustainability.
“A Ghana where systems work efficiently and effectively to support the activities of law abiding citizens is the Ghana that we want, and we must all work diligently to make it a reality for the future,” he stated.
The Vice President urged the project implementors to be steadfast in their determination to ensure the project succeeded so as to put the nation on the map of Africa towards making significant contribution to the ease of doing business.