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24.04.2004 Regional News

Training of Lay Magistrates not the solution.

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Bolgatanga, April 23, GNA- Mr. Odame Adufu, a Magistrate at Bolgatanga on Thursday said the huge sums of money used to train lay magistrates is no solution to the problem of lack of magistrates in the system.

He said instead, it would be better to offer attractive incentives to young lawyers who would accept appointments as Magistrates and who would be willing to work in rural areas.

He contended that the current condition of service for that category of judges in the judicial service is nothing to write home about, adding that should magistrates be assured of a car, a well furbished residential and office accommodation, there would be keen contest for the post.

Mr. Adufu made these suggestions when he briefed the Parliamentary Select Committee for the Judiciary in Bolgatanga on the situation of the Service in the region. The committee is in the region to assess conditions of the courts.

He told the committee members led by its Chairman, Alhaji Malik Alhassan Yakubu, that apart from the high court, the judicial service has no permanent structures in the region.

Mr. Adufu complained about the shortage of magistrates in the region and explained that there were only two resident magistrates in Bolgatanga and Navrongo who have been given additional duties to sit in Bongo and Sandema.

He further explained that a circuit court judge in Bawku has also been given an additional responsibility to sit in the Bawku Magistrate's court, adding that since its creation no Magistrate has been posted to the Zebilla Magistrate's court although there are supporting staff. Mr. Adufu said the Bolgatanga court building was originally planned as a complex, which was abandoned after the Acheampong regime and that it has the capacity to house all the courts and staff in the Municipality. He appealed to the committee to ensure that work on the complex resumes to solve accommodation problem of the service.

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