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26.03.2009 Disaster

Fire guts new court complex

By The Statesman

Work came to an abrupt end at the new court complex in Accra when in the early part of yesterday morning the building caught fire as a result of an electrical fault.

As a result of the fire, there was total blackout that affected the Fast Track High Courts and the Commercial Courts.

Staff of the Judicial Service were seen loitering about, with some gathered in groups discussing the incident, whiles others just called it a day. Litigants who were at the court to seek redress were turned away because the courts were not working.

According to eye witnesses, it took personnel from the Fire Service, with the help of Judicial Service staff almost an hour to bring the fire, which started around 7am, under control.

Speaking to The Statesman, a staff of the Judicial Service, who spoke on condition of anonymity, attributed the fire outbreak to a faulty main generator at the court which is undergoing repairs.

He said on Tuesday the generator developed a minor problem and personnel from the Electricity Company came to work on it

He said the situation however deteriorated yesterday morning when fire broke out at the Lands court. He was of the opinion that if power is not restored in the days to come the courts may not sit.

The Registrar at the Lands court however refused to comment when The Statesman sought his impressions on the way forward. Checks at the office of the Judicial Secretary office also proved futile as personnel from the office who spoke to this paper on phone claimed they were not aware of any fire outbreak.

The new courts complex was commissioned together with the Supreme Court administration block by President Kufuor in November last year. The new complex is an eight room fully automated courthouse and ADR rooms.

The facility housed specialised courts, namely, four land courts, a human rights court, an industrial (labour) court, and two courts to handle economic crimes, finance related civil and criminal matters.