Seven hundred and thirty-one commissioners for oaths who will be deployed for the National Identification Card (Ghana Card) registration exercise, were yesterday sworn in by the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo.
Per the National Identification Register (Amendment) Law, 2017, Ghanaians who do not have a birth certificate or a passport, the two mandatory documents needed for the registration, can have a relative or two persons who have already registered to vouch for them.
The commissioners will, therefore, be in charge of the process by overseeing the swearing of oaths and making of affirmations by such persons.
They were trained at the Judicial Service Training Institute in Accra in partnership with the National Identification Authority (NIA).
At the swearing-in ceremony held at the forecourt of the Supreme Court in Accra, the commissioners who took the oath of secrecy and the official oath were presented with certificates.
So far, 1,031 persons have been trained and sworn into office as commissioners for oaths for the nationwide registration exercise. 500 others are expected to be sworn into office in December in Kumasi.
The new commissioners swearing the oaths
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The Chief Justice cautioned the commissioners not to engage in acts that would contravene their oaths or the laws of the country, explaining that such acts were punishable under the law.
“You should not under any circumstances swear in anyone that you have not seen in person or whose claims you cannot verify. The Republic, in whose name you will be working, requires accurate and reliable information and your task is to make sure that this exercise provides that.
It is an offence punishable under the laws of Ghana to administer or take, conspire or condone in any such unlawful oaths, affirmations or affidavits,’’ she said.
Ms Justice Akuffo further stated that, the integrity of the registration process lay largely in the hands of the commissioners for which she admonished them “to be firm but fair, accommodating but faithful to the law and above all, do not compromise your training and integrity.’’
The Chief Justice however lauded the commissioners for making themselves available for such an important national exercise meant to provide a “definitive identification to all citizens and persons legally resident in the country.’’
For his part, the acting Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, said the role of the commissioners for oaths could not be underestimated because majority of Ghanaians expected to register, did not have the mandatory documents.
“Of the 27 million Ghanaians, only about seven million have birth certificates, and about two million have passports. The commissioners for oaths will enable the bulk of Ghanaians who must get on board get the opportunity to do so,’’ he said.
Writer’s email: emma.hawkson @graphic.com.gh