Attorney General, Godfred Dame

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has entreated West African governments to tackle corruption and poverty in order to ensure peace and stability in the sub-region.

Recently, there have been at least two military takeovers in West Africa, in what some have described as a reversal of democracy in the sub-region.

Speaking at a high-level expert meeting in Accra on Wednesday, for the establishment of a platform for Ministers of Justice in West Africa, Mr. Dame noted that these occurrences can be averted if state institutions are adequately equipped and empowered.

“The need to strengthen state institutions in tackling poverty, corruption and inequality, which are often cited as reasons for such societal upheavals, cannot be overemphasised. Strengthening state institutions and civil society organisations in promoting human rights are a sine qua non in preventing conflicts and ensuring lasting peace and security in West Africa.”

“Ghana acknowledges the importance of justice delivery in its development. To this end, the government continues to put in place policies to improve justice, access to justice, promotion of the rule of law and deepening of its democratic credentials. My Ministry is undertaking reforms in several areas to make the legal sector more efficient, to improve justice delivery and make legal services accessible to all citizens,” he said.

Mr. Dame further hinted at measures being put in place by the Ministry to open and increase access to legal services in the country.

He said in the quest to make justice delivery transparent, the sector has received support from the World Bank to develop “an integrated information management system which aids in filing court processes and is ultimately intended at fully digitising the operations of the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice.”

“We are also developing a scheme for enabling funding of the sector and improving the training of prosecutors. The Ministry also continues to introduce relevant registrations and take other measures to combat corruption and reduce its effect on the development of the nation.”

“Another strategy adopted by the Ministry of Justice to broaden access to justice is the implementation of the ‘Justice for All’ programme, a scheme aimed at decongesting the prisons by providing justice to the marginalised and the underprivileged in the society, particularly remand prisoners,” he added.

Terrorism and violent extremism

Godfred Dame expressed concern over the threats of terrorist attacks and their risks to degenerate peace and justice in the sub-region.

He wants his colleagues to collaborate in making the region peaceful.

“Terrorism and violent extremism are growing threats across Africa with serious implications for peace and security. In the Sahel, terrorist groups regularly attack local and international security forces and this is not just a regional issue but a clear and present danger to global peace and security.”

“The Niamey Declaration recognises that constitutionalism can only be achieved when relevant institutions of governance, justice and law are strengthened. There’s no Ministry in any of the member states, West Africa better placed to engage in a discussion on the attainment of this end than the Ministries of Justice in West Africa.”

The Attorney-General mentioned that a Bill to reform the Criminal Justice System by the incorporation of the free bargaining into the Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act has been published in the gazette and will be introduced to Parliament in the next week.

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