The government has donated GH¢2 million to support the Legal Aid Fund and the Law Reform Fund. Each of the Funds will receive GH¢1 million to promote the rule of law in the country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also made a personal donation of GH¢100,000 to each of the Funds bringing the total donation to GH¢2.2 million.
Speaking at the launch of the Law Reform Commission Fund and the Legal Aid Commission Fund on Wednesday at the Law Court Complex in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said the Law Reform Commission, a subvented agency under the Ministry of Justice, advocated for the establishment of the Law Reform Fund.
The Law Reform Commission, according to President Akufo-Addo, had only one vehicle, which it acquired in 1996, but through the intervention of the Attorney-General in February this year, the Commission was supplied with two new vehicles, bringing its current fleet to three.
“Being fully aware of the significance of reform and development of the laws of any country, not only will I launch this crucial Fund, but I will also throw my full weight behind all activities which will result in the mobilisation of additional resources for the work of the Law Reform Commission,” he said.
Touching on the Legal Aid Scheme, which is obligated by the Constitution and the Legal Aid Commission Act, 2018 (Act 977) to offer legal aid to the poor and vulnerable through legal education, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Commission operates in 11 regional capitals and 46 districts nationwide to administer the services of the Commission.
The President stated that, despite its staff strength handicap, the Commission, for example, in the first half of 2022, received a total number of 7,558 court cases, and resolved 3,163 of them. Out of the 4,414 ADR cases received 2,233 were resolved.
“The current office accommodating the Commission has become too small, and unfit for the attainment of the objects of the Office. The Greater Accra Regional Office and the Head office, for instance, are crammed together on the ground floor of the Council for Law Reporting building. Until this year, the Legal Aid Commission had only six vehicles, the last of which it acquired in 2007,” the President said.
He added that through the intervention of the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, 13 vehicles have been delivered to the Legal Aid office, increasing its number of vehicles from six to 19.
Describing the proper functioning of the law as a vital tool for the development of any country, President Akufo-Addo assured that even though the challenges facing the country are many, the promotion of the rule of law is of the utmost importance, and cannot take a back seat, no matter the circumstances.
The President was hopeful that the launch of the Funds would usher in a new, progressive chapter in the lives of the two Commissions and urged Ghanaians to contribute generously to the Funds. He assured the Attorney General that the Minister for Finance, through Parliament, would provide more adequate resources for the sustenance of these Funds.
He also urged the Boards of the Legal Aid Commission and the Law Reform Commission, chaired by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Nene Amegatcher, and a private legal practitioner, Anthony Akoto Ampaw, to discharge dutifully their mandates of managing the Funds, in accordance with section 34 of Act 977 and section 13 of Act 822 respectively.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD