Chief Justice His Lordship Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah has commissioned the first circuit court in the North East Region.
The facility, situated in the Regional capital, Nalerigu, is funded by the government through the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development in collaboration with the Common Fund Secretariat.
The new court building has been fully fitted with boreholes, solar power, generator sets and other facilities to enhance the delivery of quality justice.
Commissioning the facility, the Chief Justice bemoaned the state of court buildings in the country which he said has continued to adversely affect the effective and timely delivery of justice.
“Over the years, a number of factors have militated against the effective operation of the courts generally and rendered our services to the people of Ghana sometimes ineffective. Key amongst these is the deplorable state of our physical infrastructure from which the justice needs of the people of this country are served.”
According to him, a needs assessment conducted nationwide by the judiciary in 2018-2019 revealed that a significant number of court buildings are unfit for the purpose of court business, a situation the Chief Justice described as worrisome.
Justice Anin Yeboah is, however, satisfied with the efforts and commitment of the government to address the challenge.
“Several meetings with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development culminated in a bold declaration by the President two years ago, that government will construct 100 courthouses with bungalows for judges and magistrates across the country. Even though this may have been deemed as over-ambitious, today we have gathered to inaugurate this courthouse.”
On behalf of the Judicial Service, the Chief Justice thanked the President and all stakeholders, including UNICEF for their contributions and attention to the challenges of the judicial system.
The Chief Officer of the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bhanu Pathak, said the establishment of the court will improve the quality and accuracy of justice delivery for children.
According to the Regional Minister, Yidana Zakaria, the establishment of a circuit court in the Region is long overdue.
“My Lord Chief Justice I must inform you that criminal cases that hitherto would have to be trialled by the High Court in as far as Tamale or Bolgatanga will now be trialled here in Nalerigu.
“Clearly, this will cut down on the transportation cost that security agencies incur in transporting suspects to Tamale and to Bolga for justice administration.”