Judges appeal to President to intervene in salary arrears issue

Judges of the lower courts in the country say, issues pertaining to their salaries arrears were getting out of hand.

They have, therefore, appealed to the President Nana Akufo Addo as a matter of urgency to take a personal interest and intervene.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Mr Justice Victor Ofoe, President of Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG), noted that the issue of salary review had been dragging on since 2013 and nothing had been done about it.

Mr Ofoe noted that, due to the importance of the matter, the Association was not in position to tame their members, adding, they were at “a cross road.”

“The situation is frustrating, annoying, in fact insulting. The superior courts are going on vacation ending of July. Should all the lower court Judges and Magistrates apply for compassionate leave and go with us on vacation and resume with us?” he quizzed.

Mr Justice Ofoe said he had been summoned to an emergency meeting of regional representatives on July 6, this year for a decision to be taken.

According to him, the Association had heard of judges’ strike in countries like Zambia, Tanzania, among others but they wished to avoid that because the judiciary had an international reputation to protect.

He recounted that some retired judges  made several calls to him to advise members never to go strike since that would dent the image they have toiled for.

“But the matters concerning the judiciary and the lower courts, in particular is getting out of hand. The way governments in the past and present are handling us, for how long can we continue to hold our members in check?

This is where our members think that after the ‘No Strike, No Strike’’ should give way since all equation in executing the dictates of the constitution is being unbalanced.’’

Mr Justice Ofoe said the bench was now made of young men and women who were very boisterous, hot blooded, who could not easily be convinced anymore with the reputation of the judiciary in instances where they were being derived financially.

He further recounted the issue of salary review for the lower courts, which had been captured in the 1992 Constitution, noting that since 2014, there had not been any reviews.

AMJG President lauded the role the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo played in the matter by calming them down but pointed out that she could no longer be a “Trade Unionist.’’

‘’Why should we convert the Chief Justice of Ghana into a Trade Union Leader,” he quizzed.

Lower court judges and magistrates have over the year threatened and embarked on series of strikes. They have after the intervention of the Chief Justice; Ms Akuffo rescinded their decision over the payment of their salary arrears and review of salary.

Source: GNA

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