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19.01.2005 Crime & Punishment

FFTJ opposes privatisation of service of court process

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Kumasi, Jan. 19, GNA - The Foundation for True Justice (FFTJ) has strongly opposed the privatisation of service of court processes by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Kingsley Acquah.

The foundation said it was of the view that the privatisation of the bailiff's section was only going to compound the problems already existing in the Judicial Service and impede quick hearing of cases. A press statement issued in Kumasi on Wednesday and signed by Okeseku Mintah Afari, founder and leader of FFTJ, said the move to privatise the bailiff's section of the Judicial Service was not prudent and must therefore be reconsidered.

The statement said the privatisation of the service of court process would add to the problems litigants were going through due to the recent hikes in fees for the filing processes in the courts. It was a clear indication, the statement said, that the leadership of the Judicial Service had failed to design a lasting solution to the problems facing the bailiff section of the service in general. Okeseku Mintah Afari said the Judicial Service ought to fight the corruption in the system and not run away from it and queried whether it was not all the sections and departments of the Judicial Service, but only the bailiffs who take unofficial fees from parties before rendering service.

The statement said there was a perception that some judges take bribes, while registrars also take unofficial fees from parties before they execute bills.

"Does it therefore mean we should privatise the bench and the office of the registrar, the statement queried. Since it is not only the bailiffs who are corrupt, we are of the view that the Chief Justice's reasons for privatising the bailiff section alone is a not good managerial policy", the statement quoted. Sometime last year, the Chief Justice as part of the Judicial Reform programme, decided to restructure the process of documents by bailiffs who are employees of the service.

Consequently, a five-member committee to formulate cogent guidelines for the operation of the scheme was constituted.

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