Judicial Service staff involved in misconduct will be sacked — Chief Justice
I will not hesitate to get rid of any staff of the Judicial Service over misconduct, particularly those concerning bribery, the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, has said.
She mentioned charging of unapproved fees, bailiffs asking for money from litigants before serving parties as some of the unethical issues that were of concern to her office.
Justice Torkornoo said on a daily basis, her office received not less than 10 complaints and added that she recently received a petition with evidence of a mobile money transaction the petitioner had sent to a court staff.
If found guilty of complaints lodged against staff, the Chief Justice said, “I’ll not hesitate to dispense with your services”.
“Just stop it, it’s inappropriate and improper so stop,” she added.
In the same vein, Justice Torkornoo pleaded with court users to also stop corrupting the officers, adding that in most instances, some of the people around judges took money they (judges) were not aware of.
The Chief Justice was addressing residents of Effia Kwesimintsim and Mpohor in the Western Region yesterday, as part of a community sensitisation programme.
The programme, which is an initiative of the Chief Justice, was on the theme: “Improving justice delivery through community engagement”.
It is also aimed at demystifying the work of the judiciary and inspire confidence in the office of the Chief Justice by directly engaging with the people to assure them of openness and fairness in justice delivery at all times.
It would also strengthen trust and confidence of the people in the judiciary by providing information on its functions at the local and district levels, while educating people on the existence of a Public Complaints Unit, among other interventions, by the service to make justice delivery transparent.
Earlier, the Chief Justice opened a District Court each in the two communities as part of the government efforts to expand access to justice by bringing courts closer to the people.
All the courts were funded through the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) and formed part of a project by the government to build over 100 courts and 150 bungalows for the judiciary.
The Chief Justice also said her outfit was expanding and refining the rules of procedure, including instilling in its officers, higher standards of ethical conduct through training and establishment of code of conduct.
“We are demanding accountable services, independence from conflict of interest and integrity from all our officers around the country,” she added.
To deepen public confidence in the judiciary, the Chief Justice said a complaints unit had been established at the regional level and the office of the Chief Justice in Accra for the public to lodge complaints or petition of misconduct against any staff.
Complaints could also be lodged on the judicial service’s website.
She urged residents of the two communities to take keen interest in their cases to ensure expeditious determination of same.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, said the new courts would not only enhance the promotion of law, order and peace for the people, but would, also, boost investor confidence.
He, therefore, urged the people to own the courts by safeguarding it against any form of destruction.
The Chief of Apremdo, Nana Egya Kwamena XI, also urged the judiciary to be more responsive by adjudicating cases on time.