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05.03.2009 Social News

Government examining separation of Justice Minisry from AG

By gna

Government will be examining the way forward for the separation of the functions between the Minister of Justice and the Attorney–General, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister for Finance told Parliament on Thursday.

Presenting the 2009 Budget, Dr Duffuor said the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General's Department would focus on actions aimed at further strengthening the promotion of the rule of law and respect for human rights and good governance.

To this end the Ministry will complete the computerization of Attorney General's Department and its regional offices and provide adequate infrastructure and logistics as well as train legal and non legal staff.

According to the Minister, the Serious Fraud Office will investigate at

least 70 per cent of all reported cases, complete the construction of head office building and train key staff to enhance service delivery.

He said the Registrar-General's Department would complete the records computerization programme and establish network facilities to ensure constant inter connectivity between head office and the regional.

The Minister said the Registrar-General's Department had captured information on 95 per cent of all registered businesses in the Department's database thereby reducing the search of business information to just about 30 seconds. The Department has also built an ultra modern front office where all forms of business registration are undertaken.

He said the Department as part of its decentralization programme had finished the refurbishment of an office block in Tamale to start business registration in the northern sector of the country.

This brings to three the total number of regional offices so far opened by the Department, including the Kumasi and Sekondi.

He said the Ministry and its Departments and Agencies made some progress aimed at achieving some of the targets set for the year 2008.

These include the development of an Annual Work Plan (AWP) to engender change in five key areas, namely Attitudinal, Infrastructural, Technological, Personnel and Institutional, aimed at improving the image of the Attorney-

General's Department and access to justice and undertook a Justice For All programme which has so far offered prisoners on remand as well as those who may have found themselves there by reason of miscarriage of justice further access to justice at no cost.

In the case the General Legal Council, Dr Duffuor said the Council had enrolled and called to the Ghana Bar 136 Lawyers.

The Council's Disciplinary Committee disposed of 15 out of 32 complaints of professional misconduct against Lawyers.

The Minister said the Office of the Legal Aid Scheme resolved 60

per cent of 7,500 approved cases nation-wide and established twenty-three Community Mediation Centres (CMCs).

The Scheme also trained 40 community mediators and continued with the public education and awareness creation.

Dr Duffuor pointed out that the Law Reform Commission in pursuit of the Minerals and Mining Law, conducted research in mining areas in the Western, Brong- Ahafo and Ashanti Regions.

In addition, the Minister said the Final reports on recommendations for the review of the Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220) was before the Rent Review Committee.

The Restorative Justice & Alternatives to Custodial Sentencing is also

before the Research and Policy Committee.
According to the Minister, Serious Fraud Office investigated 44 reported fraud cases during the year. The Office as part of its capacity building programme trained 10 officers locally while one staff attended overseas workshop.

In addition two zonal office buildings were completed and furnished.

He said the Copyright Office through the established Monitoring Team carried out a number of anti piracy exercises throughout the country, noting that the Office also disposed of five piracy cases out of the eight brought before it.