Lower court judges and magistrates in the country have threatened to withdraw their services, beginning October 2017, over unpaid allowances and the non-implementation of the upward review of their salaries since 2012.
According to our sources, the judges have not received the allowances due them since January 2017, forcing them to use their own resources, including fuel for official duties.
The source further disclosed that the judges of the Lower Bench will be forced to boycott the annual Judges and Magistrates Conference as well as all end of legal year activities beginning this week.
The agitation compelled Justice Alex B. Acheampong, the Judicial Secretary (JS) to write to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta demanding payment of the allowances.
A copy of the letter dated September 5, 2017, said: “we refer to our letters dated 25th April 2017, 7th June 2017 and July 24, 2017, in respect of payment of petrol allowance due the members of the Lower Bench and payment of allowances for staff of the Service.”
It stated, “the non-payment of these approved allowances which are due the affected judges and staff is leading to agitation and any further delay in honoring these obligations could result in labour unrest.”
The letter, however, urged the finance minister to intervene in the resolution of the matter for the smooth running of the Judicial Service and the courts.
Subsequent to the letter, our sources revealed that Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo met with the minister in an attempt to bring closure to the issue.
Story: Kofi Owusu Tawiah