October 23, 2021

'Thank You Money To Judicial Officers Bleeds Corruption …

The Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has urged the Association of judges and Magistrate to end a growing trend that is gradually developing within the judicial service and judiciary which she considers insidious and detrimental to our fight against corruption.
She said this practice has persisted over a long period but believes it is time for us to put a stop to it as Judges since it contributes to the culture of corruption in our institution.
‘Judicial Service Staff, be they Directors, Senior or Junior Staff, are paid by the State to undertake their official duties. Any ‘thank you’ must not go beyond the verbal, and that should be it!, the CJ emphasized.

Speaking at the opening of the 37th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana, the Chief Justice said “thank you” to all judicial officers must not go beyond the verbal as they are paid to do their official work.
‘As I noted in my speech last year, I remind you once again, that by the Oath that ushers us into office, we make a firm commitment to reach our decisions entirely devoid of influences foreign to the bare facts of the case, the law and the achievement of a just resolution’.
‘We swear to our nation and to our God that we will give each applicant a fair hearing and unimpeded access to the protection of the law. This is a commitment from which we should never depart. In our individual and collective roles as Judges, cultivating and maintaining a culture of unremitting excellence, we can, working together as a team, truly succeed in delivering on our mandate, as expected of us by God Almighty in Leviticus 19 verse 15 which implores us not pervert justice or show partiality to the poor and favoritism to the great but to judge everyone fairly.’
Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo said the leadership of the Association and the Organizing Committee could not have chosen a more apposite theme for this year’s AGM -“Judges, Our Health”. I notice from the Programme that one of our nation’s foremost clinic psychologists, Prof. Araba Sefa-Dedeh, will deliver a presentation on “The Judges’ Mental Health”, and has therefore, lightened my load. I am hoping that her presentation will shed light on this critical subject and propose meaningful ways of addressing this issue.
The health and well-being of Judges is an extremely important matter because Judges are at the heart of the justice delivery system of any country. Our Constitution takes due cognizance of this imperative and makes the inability to perform the functions of the Judge’s office due to infirmity of body or mind a ground for the removal of the Judge from the Bench.
She noted that the judgeship is a demanding job – requiring the delicate balancing of competing interests, applying the facts to the evidence adduced and reaching a just conclusion according to law. As societies have become more complex, so have crimes and civil disputes increased. This has undoubtedly put a greater strain and stress on the demands of our job.

While we bear individual responsibility for devising creative ways of maintaining our sanity in the face of the overwhelming challenges of our calling, it will be prudent that effective support systems are established amongst Judges that will provide the environment for us to overcome these work-related pressures that undermine our health and well-being, and allow us to continue to thrive and perform optimally.
As we know, the mere absence of sickness or disease is no indication of good health and hence, a holistic view of wellness is necessary if we are to achieve the ends of this objective.
By : Ama Brako Ampofo / Kingdom 107.7 FM / Kingdomfmonline.com / [email protected] / Ghana / 2019

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