Under-funding of Judiciary undermines output – Supreme Court Judge

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Until the judiciary is adequately funded, the third organ of state, will continue to grapple with its constitutional mandate, as delays in the release of statutory funds impedes its work.

According to Justice Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau, a Supreme Court Justice nominee, it is imperative for the judiciary to be supported financially in order for it to fulfill its role in the country’s democratic dispensation.

“As a nation, we need to look at the budget of the judiciary, if we want the judiciary to perform the role assigned to it by the constitution, we need to look at the budget of the judiciary. Most of the time,I speak to the director of finance about it. The approval of our budget is made but the money does not come, so if we are able to finance and support the judiciary very well, I think we have the men, notwithstanding the challenge to fulfill our mandate”, he told members of the Appointments Committee during his vetting at Parliament House in Accra.

He explained that given their number of over 400 judges, they are faced with daunting challenges throughout the country from magistrates, right up to the Supreme Court.

“The rule of law is a pillar, one of the pillars in ensuring that investments flow into the country;because any investor will want to find a dispute resolution in the country, and without the proper foundation for rule of law, it will affect our investment drive, it will affect trade and investment, and even the economy, so there is the need to pay attention to the judiciary notwithstanding the challenges” he said.

Under the Appropriation bill in the 2018 Budget Statement, the Judicial Service was allocated GH?19m [19,166,640] as its budget for the year ending 2018.

Justice Marful-Sau also added that, most of their issues boils down to budget and funds, stressing that the structure of the judiciary itself is made up of one Supreme Court, which sits in Accra, making it easier for it to be automated.

Over 46 court complex sitting at a once place, makes it easier for automation, however with the circuit courts that are scattered all over the country as well as the district courts, it is difficult to automate them, Justice Marful-Sau noted.

He stated that until the judiciary is able to get a lot of funding, it will be unable to do automation for all the lower courts because of the nature of their geographical locations and even the building [wiring, not well maintained].

Background

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo appointed four Justices to the Supreme Court following the retirement of some long-serving justices.

Pursuant to his powers listed in Article 144 (2) of the Constitution, the President settled on two Court of Appeal judges; Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Justice Agnes M.A. Dordzie, Nene A. O. Amegatcher and an academic, Prof Nii Ashie Kotey, a former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana.

As at 2016, there were 14 Supreme Court judges, but at least three Supreme Court judges have retired or are expected to retire in a few years.

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