Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Judges call for constructive approach to tackling judicial corruption complaints

The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) held its 32nd Annual General Meeting in Accra on 29th September, during which Chief Justice Georgina Wood expressed her determination to build a trustworthy and robust judiciary.

The latter had recently come under scrutiny for accountability and transparency, she said, and as Chief Justice, she welcomed “constructive dialogue and informed suggestions that have the potential of helping the judiciary develop and grow as a major institution of State.”

AMJG President and Appeal Court Judge Justice Joseph Akamba said that the spectre of corruption was incredibly harmful to the legal profession. Complaints were not just about the payment of money to judges, but about the attitudes and practices shown towards litigants in court and within court premises, he said. Statistics from the complaints unit were disheartening and it was important that judges did not shy away from addressing the issues raised.

He called on judges to be committed to learning and to remain up to date with developments in the law.

A group of lawyers sparked controversy earlier this year when they accused the judiciary of corruption, leading to calls from magistrates and judges for the lawyers prove their claims or retract and apologise.

The disputes followed concerns about the dysfunctional nature of the judiciary and corruption in Ghana's judicial system in the wake of highly critical reports on its performance by the World Bank and the Open Society Initiative.

The board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation ranked Ghana's judiciary 7th out of 53 countries and 4th in terms of rule of law in its 2010 performance index of African countries. The 2011 ranking will be announced on 10th October at a press conference in London.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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