THE JUDICIAL Service has begun the weekend courts sittings at the District and Juvenile Courts in Accra, to deal with specific cases such as domestic violence, revenue and other monetary claims by state agencies.
Judges, Magistrates, some lawyers as well as other court officials were at work at the scheduled time, and the courts dealt with the cases that came before them.
The courts sittings last Saturday were related to claims from defaulters of social security contributions. Other cases involving domestic violence were not brought to court because the dockets were not ready.
In all, 20 cases were called, of which two convictions were made and one bench warrant issued. The other cases were mentioned and adjourned to April 19, 2008 to enable the prosecutors and court officials to serve hearing notices for the next sitting.
Some of the heads of institutions dragged to court were James Owusu Bonsu, Managing Director of Vanef Car Rentals; and Steven Mensah, a director at M and A Engineering and Trading Centre.
The bench warrant was issued by an Accra Circuit Court for the arrest of Mr. Dyson Teye Jumpah of E.E.M.C. Ltd for failing to pay an amount of GH¢6,259,79 as workers' contribution to the Social Security Insurance Scheme.
The Managing Director of Christ Advanced Preparatory School, Mr. Fredrick Bright Solomon, who pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to pay social security contributions, was asked by Justice Mahamadu Iddrisu, a Circuit Court Judge to pay an amount of GH¢10,668.58 or in default serve a jail term of 12 months.
The prosecutor, Rosemond Brown, had indicated to the court that the establishment was registered with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) with the employing registration number 304J121.
She stated that as required by PNDC law, an inspection of the salary books was conducted on November 14, 2007 to determine the social security contribution payable by the employer on behalf of the employees.
The inspection, according to her, covered the period of July 2007 and October 2007 and it revealed an arrears of GH¢10,668.58.
This was made up of GH¢ 5,246,82 as actual contributions and GH¢5,421,76 as payment for delayed payment of contributions.
A demand letter dated November 2007 was issued to inform the employer of his indebtedness to the Trust, but the notice expired on November 29, 2007 without any proper arrangement.
A criminal summons was therefore served on him on December 20, 2007 for which he was brought to court.
Mr. Abdullah Iddrisu, Acting Judicial Secretary, in an interview with the media, revealed that so far, 21 cases had been recorded for hearing on April 19, 2008.
According to him, the defaulters in cases relating to monetary claims had seen how serious the courts were and had therefore started paying their debts to avoid any embarrassment.
He stated that five courts, two Circuits and three Magistrates out of the 57 courts in Accra, were involved in the sittings, and that depending on its success, the exercise will be extended to the other regions yearning for weekend sittings.
Mr. Iddrisu said the aim of the weekend sittings was to clear the backlog of cases before the courts which was a source of worry and concern, not only to the Judicial Service but to the people who access the courts.
He stressed that as long as there were cases to be heard, the weekend sittings would be effective.
By Mary Anane