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General News of Thursday, 22 December 2016

Source: GNA

Only 69 out of 143 superior court judges have accommodation - Chief Justice

Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, Chief Justice, has noted that the provision of accommodation to judges continues to remain a challenge to the Judicial Service.

According to Mrs Wood, the engagement of more judges by the Judicial Service, as part of its reforms, had invariably resulted in an increase in the number of judges who required accommodation from the state.

She said: “Presently, only 69 out of 143 superior court judges had been provided with official accommodation, resulting in a deficit of 74 judges without official accommodation.”

The Chief Justice made this known at the inauguration of a five-storey block of executive flats for 10 High Court judges at Roman Ridge in Accra, at a cost of GHC8 million.

Christened Liberty Court, each flat consists of three bedrooms, living/dining rooms, a study room, a laundry room, with two-bedroom out-house.

Standard furnishing has been provided for each of the 10 flats. Rev Seth Ayettey dedicated the building to God.

As part of conditions of service of judges, they were to be allocated fully furnished residential accommodation.

The Chief Justice recounted that the Judicial Service, in 2010, embarked on a project to redevelop some of its old bungalow sites into modern residential facilities to house judges.

She said the contract for bungalows was awarded in December 2010, adding: “Sadly, the construction came to a standstill in 2013 as a result of funding constraints from the government.”

However, Mrs Wood said the Judicial Service obtained authorisation from the Ministry of Finance to use part of its internally generated funds to complete the project.

She recalled that at the end of September 2013, three out of six units of four-bedroom flats were completed at East Ridge, and three Court of Appeal judges occupied them.

“The second phase, involving the construction of three two-storey buildings, is in progress and expected to be completed in 2017.

“However, the construction of four two-bedroom bungalows at Danyame, Kumasi, for Court of Appeal Judges has come to a standstill, due to funding challenges,” the Chief Justice said.

She commended the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, the Judicial Council and constructors for good job done.

“I pray that our noble justices and their families who occupy this facility enjoy this facility,” Mrs Wood said.

Mr Justice Alex B. Poku Acheampong, Judicial Secretary, noted that the judiciary has had serious challenge over accommodation, noting that the newly built flats were a great gift.

Mr Kofi Arhin, Project Consultant, urged the judges hold in high esteem the maintenance culture, and alert him whenever they were any defects, adding: “Early defects save cost.”