A Justice of the Appeal Court, Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei, has cautioned litigants against attempts to bribe court officials, including clerks and administrators, to gain favour and influence the course of justice.
The Appeal Court Justice noted that in order to discourage malpractices, the courts had designated a number of banks where payments to the court could be made.
He said if it could be avoided, no payment should be made at offices of the courts but should rather be channelled through the designated banks in order to avoid the temptation to engage in bribery.
Justice Dominic Adjei gave the advice at the inauguration of a modern and fully computerised High Court with internet facilities in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region.
The facility was constructed by the Obuasi Municipal Assembly and was an initiative of the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Richard Ofori Agyeman Boadi.
It is the third High Court in the region, besides the ones in Kumasi and Mampong, to be computerised. Meanwhile, apart from Kumasi, Obuasi is the next town that has a circuit and a district court.
Justice Dominic Adjei urged the public not to put the law into their hands but to refer all infringement to the courts for adjudication, since ‘judicial power is vested in the Judiciary.”
He said inasmuch as the courts encouraged Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), there were certain cases that could not be settled outside of the courts due to their nature. Such cases, he said, included felonies of an aggravated nature, rape, stealing and armed robbery.
He said even under the ADR which is intended to promote amicable settlement between feuding parties, agreed terms are always filed and enforced by the courts as its ruling.
The new court building has accommodation for the newly appointed High Court Judge to Obuasi, Justice Charles Gyamfi Dankwa, who is also the Supervising High Court Judge for the Northern Region, as well as for the registrar of the court.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr John Alexander Ackon, inaugurated the high court building and said access to justice was the inherent right of all people in any modern democratic state.
He added that in many African countries, justice had remained elusive for the poor and vulnerable.
He said accessibility to justice thrived on an effective and a fully functional court system that was easily reached by all.
‘Unfortunately, the reality in Ghana is that the courts are few, poorly distributed and under-resourced and, therefore, are often incapable of dispensing with justice the way it is expected,” he said.
He commended the MCE for his initiative and expressed the hope that other facilities such as a modern lorry terminal and a market complex would also be provided in the town.