The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has assured management and staff of State Agencies who operate under his Ministry that a comprehensive program aimed at retooling them to boost their efficiency will be rolled out under his tenure.
There are seven (7) State Agencies that operate directly under the Attorney General’s Department and they are the Council for Law Reporting, Legal Aid Commission, Registrar General’s Department, Economic, and Organized Crime Office, Law Reform Commission, Copyright Office, and the Ghana Law School.
The Attorney General since assuming office nearly a year ago has so far visited all the Agencies except the Ghana Law School.
As part of his visiting schedule, the Attorney General (AG) made a stopover at the Law Reform Commission and the Copyright Office today the 4 February 2022, in the company of his two deputies, Diana Asonaba Dapaah and Mr. Alfred Tuah-Yeboah. Mrs. Helen Ziwu, Ghana’s Solicitor-General was also part of the AG’s delegation.
The AG first visited the Copyright Office, whose mandate is to promote and protect the rights of creators, where he interacted with the staff and management of the office.
In her submission, the Copyright Administrator, Madam Yaa Attafuah, indicated that the Copyright Office is bedeviled with multiple logistical constraints such as vehicles, adequate and modern office facility, digital infrastructure, and sufficient legal officers.
She suggested that the Copyright Office if supported with the logistics it lacks, the organization has the potential of becoming a world-class institution as is the case in other developed countries.
*AG at Copyright Office*
In his response, the AG, Godfred Yeboah Dame noted that, while making his way into the building of the Copyright Office, the challenges stirred him in the face as he was climbing the stairs.
“The difficulties that this office has been confronted with have been legendary. They have persisted for God knows how long, but I will indeed commit myself to ensure that difficult as the challenges are, we will surmount them and deal with them in my tenure as Attorney General” Godfred Dame said.
On digital reforms, the AG noted that it is time for the Copyright Office to start receiving deposits via electronic means by modernizing its operations.
He added that his office will support any administrative efforts that ought to be carried out to bring digital transformation to the Copyright office.
*Law Reform Commission*
At his next stop which was at the Law Reform Commission (LRC), the AG and his delegation were received by the Executive Director of the Commission, Mrs. Anita Ababio.
In a presentation, Mrs. Ababio also listed the several logistics that they lack as a Commission. She mentioned that the Commission only has one car, ten (10) office rooms with a leaking roof, among other challenges.
She observed that the Law Reform Commission is currently working on multiple projects which are in the form of bills such as the long-lasting succession bill and property rights of spouses, the draft bill on the registration of marriages and non-custodial sentencing, rent bill, aged care bill, draft Muslim marriage and divorce bill as well as the de-criminalization suicide bill.
With adequate support and supply of logistics, the Executive Director of the Commission believes that the institution will turn its fortune around and become an even more viable State institution.
*AG at LRC*
The AG, Godfred Yeboah Dame, was full of praise for the presentation that was done by the Executive Director of the Law Reform Commission.
He assured the LRC management that he will bring sweeping changes to the logistical constraints affecting their work.
*Criminal Procedure Act*
The AG charged the LRC to as a matter of urgency, take a critical look at reforming the entire Criminal Procedure Act, noting that, the same “is long overdue”.
“It is a set rule that contributes to delay in criminal prosecution. Many a time, a prosecution that is supposed for an offense that is to be tried summarily takes about four years, five years as a result of the exploitation by counsel for the accused through appeals and all that” the Attorney General said.
“I think there ought to be an elimination of interlocutory appeals in criminal prosecutions procedures if you ask me. It is only perhaps, at the submission of no case stage that there ought to be such an opportunity” he added.
*Law Reform Fund*
On the setting of the law reform fund as required by section 10 of the Law Reform Commission Act, 2011 (Act 822), Godfred Dame, expressed surprise at the fact that it has not been set up yet.
“That for me is a major omission on the part of the government. I think the Commission, for it to undertake its functions, ought to have the fund set-up as a matter of urgency” Dame stated.
“I commit myself to ensure that the fund will be set up by the law and that the government will provide the seed money for a fund to be able to operationalized” he added.