President John Agyekum Kufuor yesterday inaugurated the Court of Appeal Complex in Kumasi.
The multi-million Ghana cedi four-storey complex which will house two courts of appeal, two land courts, two commercial courts, a human rights and an industrial/labour courts.
It will serve the need of the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and the northern sector of the country.
The project commenced in October 2006 and was scheduled to be completed in April 2009.
But the contractors, China Jiangxi International Company, led by Mr. Liu Hua, completed it six months ahead of schedule and according to the President “ it is due to the dynamism of Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood and her team”.
President Kufuor said, one of the core functions of the court was to deliver efficient justice to the people of the country.
He said the court would bring the appeal process closer to the citizenry in the northern sector of the country and, “this should minimise delays and reduce the cost incurred by travelling all the way to Accra for the appeal process.”
To this end, the President said “the Judiciary should be commended for seeking to make justice accessible to the people in all the regions and for trying to ensure that adequate facilities were made available for justices and personnel of the courts.”
The President reminded judges and other officials of the courts to be mindful of the heavy responsibility that they carried.
Court officials must endeavour to undertake their work with all seriousness and comport themselves well at all times to earn high respect from the public.
To the public, he said, building of an effective and efficient Judiciary was a shared responsibility of the institution and the society in general and “the public must respect the role of law and submit to live by its due process.
“This will make the public forebear from trying to cut coveries with the judiciary and trust that the judiciary's current vision and pragmatic efforts to rise to expectation will succeed in maturing itself to satisfy its constitutional functions.”
On her part, Chief Justice Georgina Wood said that access to justice, which is the Judiciary's overriding theme for the next few years, is not just a mere rhetonic, but very much a high priority for those concerned with the administration of justice.”
She said the inauguration of the project to serve the needs of the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and the three regions in the northern sector “bears eloquent testimony to the resolve to remove all barriers to geographical access,” adding that the commissioning of the complex was the beginning of plans to establish a court of appeal in each regional capital within the next few years.
The Chief Justice pointed out that the legal profession had a critical role to play in the process and quest to make justice accessible to all.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who was represented by Mamponghene Dasebere Osei Bonsu, thanked the government for the project which he said, would for the first time avert long journeys to Accra and thereby reduce litigation cost.
He appealed to the government to provide four bungalows for the judges.
Mr. Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, also asked for a modern magistrate court in the Kumasi metropolis.