Mr Godfred Yeboah-Dame, Attorney General and Minister of Justice has pledged to work with the new board of the Legal Aid Commission to ensure the immediate establishment of the Legal Aid Fund (LAF) to support indigent persons in the society.
He disclosed that government intend to contribute significant amount of money as the seed money for the fund, thus, urging the new board to come out with innovative means of ensuring that sufficient contributions, donations, and grants are made to the fund for the smooth discharge of the object of the Commission.
“In my respectful view, the way to go with the Legal Aid Commission ultimately is by undertaking what section 31 of Act 977 has prescribe for it, the setting up of the Legal Aid Fund. Section 32 provides that the object of the fund is to ensure the financial capacity of the Commission to efficiently and effectively carry out its mandate under Act 977”
Mr Yeboah-Dame made the pledge when he sworn-in the members of the Governing Board of the Legal Aid Commission in Accra.
The Legal Aid Commission has Justice Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana as the Board Chairman whiles Mr Martin Tieku Amoyaw is the Executive Director.
The rest of the members are Mrs Frances Mullen Ansah, Madam Florence Ayisi Quartey, Madam Georgina A. Mensah, Mr Yaw Acheampong Boafo, Mrs Perpetua Vincentia Yankson, ACP Lydia Yaako Donkor and Christopher Archer.
The Legal Aid Commission Act, 2018, (Act 977) among others defines the mandate of the Legal Aid Board to include the development of a comprehensive Legal Aid policy and programme to be carried out throughout the country, selection of lawyers and other personnel for the execution of the programme and supervision to the general administration of the Legal Aid programme.
Mr Yeboah-Dame also said the structure set out in Act 977 could provide a sound scheme for the attainment of efficient legal aid service.
He said the new divisions required to be setup by the Commission such as the Citizens Advisory Division, Public Defenders Division and Alternative Dispute Resolution Division are intended to provide a steady mechanism of a comprehensive legal assistance to citizens in all cases.
He said section 5 of Act 977 provides a framework for the Commission to enter into agreement with persons who perform services similar to the commissions outside the country for the provision of legal aid to Ghanaian citizens abroad.
“I am firmly of the conviction that effectively harness legal aid portends the ability to lay solid blocks for the achievement of equity and fairness in the Ghanaian society” he said.
Mr Yeboah-Dame also pledged to acquire a land for the construction of a permanent office for the Legal Aid Commission (LAC) which he says is long overdue.
He also charged the new board to present to the Attorney General a comprehensive assessment of what is required for the retooling of the Commission as a step to address the severe difficulties the organization finds itself.
Justice Nene Amegatcher in his comment pledged the support of the board to work to ensure that access to justice comes to the door steps of Ghanaians.
He said with the passage of the Legal Aid Commission Act, 2018, (Act 977) the responsibility is on the board to ensure that access to Justice would be realized in the country.
“It is my wish and hope that members of the board and I put our heads together, work assiduously to meet the obligations impose on us in Act 977.
“…We know the enormity of responsibility that has been placed on us, we intend to work very hard so that we are able to discharge that responsibility to the best of our knowledge and abilities” he said.
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Pix 141 and 142 shows Mr Godfred Yeboah-Dame, Attorney General swearing-in the new members of the Board of the Legal Aid Commission.
Pix 143 and 144 show Mr Godfred Yeboah-Dame, Attorney General in a group photograph with the new members of the Board of the Legal Aid Commission.