Graphic Online

Graphic Online 

Akufo-Addo urged to review salaries of lower court judges

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
 Justice Victor Ofoe
Justice Victor Ofoe

The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to take immediate steps to review the salaries of judges in the lower courts which have been outstanding since 2013.


According to the association, its members will be left with no option but to carry out a nationwide strike if nothing is done to address the situation promptly.

At a news conference held in Accra yesterday, the AMJG contended that even though the review of the salaries of judges in the lower courts was provided for in the 1992 Constitution, efforts to access that entitlement had been futile.

No turning back

The President of the AMJG, Justice Victor Ofoe, who addressed the media, stressed that the association had come to the crossroads and could no longer restrain its members from embarking on a strike to back their demand for the salary review.

“Since 2015, the lower courts have threatened strike over this issue, but they have always been prevailed upon to be patient because strike is not in the vocabulary of the Judiciary.


“The Judiciary in Ghana has a reputation to protect, so even though we have heard about strikes by judges in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and other places, we have painfully endured the possibility of a similar situation, but we are no more in a position to tame our members because we are at the crossroads,” he added.

Mr Ofoe said retired judges had constantly called on him to impress on the affected lower court judges not to take steps that could dent the image of the government and the Judiciary, but asked: “For how long shall we continue to hold our members in check?”

Action

An emergency meeting of all regional representatives is expected to be held on July 6, this year for the association to take a firm decision on the strike action.

Mr Ofoe described the current situation of the lower court judges as frustrating and annoying, adding “to the President, we say that it is a simple matter of reviewing the salaries of these judges and magistrates and paying their arrears arising therefrom.”

He indicated that recommendations for the review of salaries and other conditions of service for lower court judges had been made by the Judicial Council for approval by the President.

“It is the council’s recommendation which is currently before the President that we have been chasing sleeplessly.”

Mr Ofoe added that countless meetings had been held on the issue, but had not yielded any fruitful results.

He said frantic efforts had been made by the Chief Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo, to facilitate the review of the salaries but there was still no definite action.