Atuguba Warns Gov’t Against Unattractive Conditions of Service for Judiciary

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Retired Supreme Court judge, Justice William Atuguba, has warned that Ghana risks losing the quality people serving on the bench if the conditions of service for the judiciary are not improved.

According to him, the not-so-attractive remuneration of justices of the country’s courts is partly to blame for the lack of interest by highly placed lawyers to serve on the bench.

Justice Atuguba was speaking at a lecture on Monday to honor his 22-years of service on the Supreme Court bench.

The Chief Justice, Her ladyship Sophia Akuffo chaired the event attended by judges, lawyers and other influential persons in society.

Justice Atuguba, who retired from the bench last month, said it is time government took a second look at the remuneration package for judges.

“Many years ago, distinguished Chief Justice Fred Akwasi Apaloo addressing a forum on the occasion of the appointment of justices to the supreme court and the court of appeal, described the work of public service and particularly of the judiciary, in the same term that it is taintless. Now if that spectre is to be left loose on its own and not treated, we will suffer a diminution of response from persons, who would otherwise be very suited to serve this country on the bench particularly of the supreme court,” he said.

The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana, last month expressed displeasure over salaries and conditions of service.

The Association feels there should be systems in place to address the salary concerns of judges.

These concerns were made as the Association again served notice that it may strike over issues relating to their salaries and conditions of service.

“Why should be the Chief Justice be made a trades union officer to be seeing the President on the salary of judges? It is something very difficult for us to understand,” the Association’s president, Justice Victor Ofoe, said.