A Circuit Court has been inaugurated at Kwabenya in the Ga East Municipality in the Greater Accra Region to facilitate justice delivery and enhance governance.
The creation of the Circuit Court at Kwabenya in the Ga East Municipality brings to fourteen (14), the number of Circuit Courts in the Greater Accra Region, including nine (9) in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, two (2) in Tema Metropolitan Assembly, and one (1) in Ga West Municipal Assembly.
The Circuit Court has a well furnished court room, Judge’s chamber, two offices for Registry Staff fitted with washrooms, public washrooms and a security office.
The inaugural ceremony brought together officials from the Judicial Service led by Her Ladyship Justice Mrs. Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, and a host of dignitaries including the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Honourable John Kwao Sackey, Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, the Presiding Member, Hon. Nii Annang Ofori, Traditional and Religious Leaders among other groupings and residents of Kwabenya.
Her Ladyship, Justice Mrs. Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, delivering a speech on behalf of Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, indicated that the establishment and inauguration of the Circuit Court in Kwabenya forms part of the highly prioritized reform initiative of the Judicial Service of Ghana and they were truly delighted that the Assembly had done everything possible to provide the needed space to facilitate the establishment of the court.
Justice Mrs. Asare-Botwe noted that “as a public institution, the Judicial Service is responsible for providing an enabling environment by creating a legal and Judicial System that promote the rule of law, transparency and speedy administration of justice”.
She stated that a number of factors have over the years militated against the effective operations of the courts and the administration of justice in general and these have somehow impacted the justice delivery process in the country.
Her Ladyship underscored the importance of establishing the Circuit Court at Kwabenya.
“Indeed the inauguration of this Court to serve the justice needs of the citizenry in and around Kwabenya is to bring justice to the doorsteps of the people. The decision is aimed at reducing the delays and costs incurred by citizens in seeking justice, especially at the district level”.
She further noted the contributions of the judiciary to governance stating that “an efficient and viable judiciary is one of the key requisites for any striving democratic society as is being experienced and witnessed in our country”.
She added that they are mandated to deliver quality service and believes that “justice must not just be done, but be seen to be done”.
Justice Mrs. Asare-Botwe therefore advised the court officials who will be assigned to the court to be circumspect in their duties to promote integrity and high sense of professionalism to protect and maintain the good image of the service and avoid acts that will bring the administration of justice into disputes.
She reminded the officials of the fact that, the work of the court is a service and not only to court users, but also to the nation and urged the public, litigants and the Bar to fully patronize the services of the court and the trained mediators under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programme to settle disputes.
She then introduced Her Honour Mrs. Patricia Quansah as the Circuit Court Judge assigned to the Circuit Court at Kwabenya.
On his part, the MCE of the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Hon. John Kwao Sackey, recounted the significant strides the Assembly has made and continues to make since its creation by undertaking numerous projects such as a modern administrative blocks and offices as well as some residential accommodation for the senior staff including the Municipal Chief Executive, the Municipal Coordinating Officer, the Municipal Planning Director and the Municipal Director of Education among others.
He said the establishment of the Circuit Court, which follows the opening of an office for the Electoral Commission in the municipality, is part of the conscious efforts by the Assembly to enhance good governance and accountability by providing congenial environment for the various governance institutions to perform their mandate in the municipality.
Further to this, he said the Assembly has constructed station for the Abokobi District Police Command which is ready to use and was expected to be operational by the end of the September, 2016.
Touching on moves to improve the socio-economic lives of the people in the municipality, Hon. Kwao Sackey said the Assembly is also undertaking a development and modernization of markets while noting that the education and health sectors were receiving massive infrastructural boost with the construction of the Assembly’s first-ever public senior secondary school as well as a 100-bed capacity District Hospital both at Atomic.
He disclosed that plans were far advanced to establish offices for the Ghana National Fire Service and Immigration Service.
Hon. Kwao Sackey expressed profound gratitude to the Judicial Service for their immense support and encouragement and for establishing the Circuit Court in the Ga East Municipality.
He said, “hitherto, we had to rely on the Madina and Adentan Courts for our judicial services. It is our hope, therefore, that the establishment of this court will bring about swift dispensation of justice which is a key element in our development. It is our belief that with a court established within the most highly populated part of the municipality, residents who have civil cases will readily access justice and will not have to travel long distances to seek redress to their grievances.
The GEMA MCE revealed that “the initial request by the Assembly was for a Magistrate Court, but after a critical review by the Judicial Service, a higher court was approved, which is the Circuit Court, meaning the cases of the Magistrate and Circuit courts can be handled by the Circuit Court”.
He disclosed that in appreciation of the gesture by the Judicial Service, the Assembly had a bungalow to accommodate the Circuit Court Judge.
He appealed to the court to adjudicate swiftly matters that will be brought before it to achieve a clean and safe environment needed for growth and sustenance.
Hon. Kwao Sackey advised the residents of the municipality to “be agents of peace and torchbearers of democracy especially in this election period and also be decorous in their activities by observing all electoral regulations to prove to the world that our democracy has matured”.
He also pleaded with the youth to “stay away from people who will use them to foment troubles and violence but rather be agents of peace and progress”.
Nii Teiko Akorsoku IV, Head of the Gbese Shiawulu Royal Family, landlords of the area, was grateful to the Assembly for approaching them to establish a court on their land and pledged to provide space if the promise by the Judicial Service to establish a High Court in the municipality materializes.
A moot court was enacted to depict to the public court proceedings following the tape-cutting to officially inaugurate.
By: Nana Panin Akosua Arhin
Pictures by: Stephen Quartey