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12.11.2003 General News

Chieftaincy division to recruit lawyers for judicial committees

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Ho, Nov 12, GNA- The Chieftaincy Division, under the Office of the President, is seeking an agreement with the Attorney General's Department to recruit and second lawyers to work as Counsel on Judicial Committees of the Regional Houses of Chiefs.

Mr Edward Marfo, Director of the Division, said this on Wednesday when he addressed registrars, bailiffs and accounting staff of traditional councils in the Volta Region and the Regional House of Chiefs attending a two-day skills improvement workshop in Ho.

He said the agreement would put counsel on the judicial committees on the same level in terms of salaries and other conditions of service. Mr Marfo said the current arrangement of the traditional authorities employing their own counsel with less attractive terms makes it almost impossible for them to recruit or retain lawyers.

He said as a result there are piles of cases pending before the judicial committees for want of counsel to help handle them as required by law.

Mr Marfo announced that a staff rationalisation exercise is to be undertaken soon to address understaffing in some traditional councils. He said the workshop was to address the shortcomings of the staff of the councils as a result of lack of regular in-service training that has made it difficult for many of them to pass their promotion examinations. Mr Marfo said the Chieftaincy Division has decided to hold periodic courses in English, Report Writing and Court Procedures to enable them to meet the challenges of supporting the chieftaincy institution to carry out its mandate under the constitution.

He said grants for the various councils are at the final stage of processing and would be released to them by the end of next week to meet some of their administrative expenses.

In a welcome address, Togbega Gabusu VI, President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, suggested that if government is unable to do anything to attract lawyers to work on the Judicial Councils then the clause in the law should be cancelled to give Chiefs the free hand to operate.

"Give us the opportunity to operate as chiefs and together with our Registrars we would deliver the goods to safeguard peace in the country," he said.

He also said the 10,000 cedis allowance paid to Chiefs who sit on Judicial Committees is too meagre and must be reviewed.

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