Regional News of Saturday, 9 August 2014

Source: GNA

Legal Aid Scheme established five legal aid offices

The Legal Aid Scheme had established five Legal Aid Offices in the Eastern Region to provide legal aid services and justice to the poor, vulnerable and the marginalized.

The offices were established at New Abirim, Kibi, Asesewa, Begoro and Abetifi.

In an address read on his behalf at a durbar of chiefs, Municipal and District Chief executives and the people to inaugurate the Abetifi and the other offices in the Eastern Region at Abetifi, the Executive Director of Legal Resources Center (LRC) Mr. Phne Lariba Nabila explained that the objective of the scheme was to expand the capacity of the country’s Legal Aid Scheme through public awareness.

He said the LRC was an office tasked with developing human rights within communities through the promotion of the law, justice, development and good governance.

Mr. Nabila commended the United Nations Development Programme for financial and staff assistance to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies for collaboration with the LRC and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The Director of Legal Aid Ghana, Mr. Yahaya Alhassan Seini, said, a survey conducted under the auspices of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice in 2012 with sponsorship from the UNDP revealed that over 70 percent of respondents had no knowledge of the Legal Aid Scheme in the country.

To address the anomaly, the UNDP agreed to improve public knowledge about the existence of the scheme and its operations and agreed to establish and equip 15 district offices for the Legal Aid Scheme out of which five are in the Eastern Region.

Mr. Seini said Legal Aid Scheme existed to ensure that no person in the country suffered injustices on account of his earnings or low social standing.

He said the scheme provided legal advice and education on the rights of the people not only to assist them to make informed choices on the way to secure justice and access to knowledge but also to assist them through alternative dispute resolution to resolve their disputes.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, said appealed to the scheme to sensitize the public more on the scheme and create awareness for the people to get assistance when they are unable to afford legal representation to access the court system.

The Supervising Eastern Region High Court Judge, Mr Justice Simon Suurbaareh who chaired the function, said the scheme was to act as a cooperate defender for the defenceless, poor and vulnerable in the society to seek assistance and advice.

He said the scheme had been recognized internationally to settle cases to ensure peace in the society.

The Chief of Abetifi, Nana Asiedu Agyemang III, appealed to the people not to use the scheme to increase litigation but to make judicious use of it to ensure peace and development.