The Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo, yesterday asked Notaries Public to serve with integrity, fidelity and dedication.
She said this when she administered oath to 85 Notaries Public in Accra.
“As sworn public officials you play an important role in the prevention of fraud and protection of the parties involve by acting as an official unbiased witnesses in respect of some documents,” she added.
Ms Akuffo said under the Notaries Public Act, 1960 (Act 26), the Chief Justice was empowered to appoint to be a Notary Public any person, whom she considers fit and proper to discharge the duties assigned to that office by law or by the practice of commerce.
The Chief Justice said the practice, had been and continued to be that only a lawyer of high moral character and proven integrity and not less than 10 years standing as a lawyer was appointed as a Notary Public.
“It is expected that you bring to bear on your new appointment as Notaries Public that experience you have gathered over the years in your profession as lawyers and officers of the courts in Ghana,” she said.
The Chief Justice noted that the functions of a Notary Public, however, entail greater responsibilities and skills than oath taking including certifying documents, attesting to the authenticity of signatures, and performing official acts in commercial matters.
“A person appointed to such a public office is expected to be a qualified and experienced practitioner trained in the drafting and executing of legal documents. Such a person ought to be a person of trust and fidelity, a person of some worth and dignity and a person well instructed in his business, adroit in framing acts and taking the examination of witness.”
Ms Akuffo said as Notaries Public they play an important role in the prevention of fraud and protection of the parties involved by acting as official unbiased witnesses in respect of some documents.
She said: “As Notaries Public you may have to prepare important documents such as contracts, leases, power of attorney and articles of partnership, wills and other instruments.
She advised them to include on any document, their names, signatures, date of notarisation, affix their notary seal or stamp to documents, as well as to maintain a register of all notary acts they perform and notify the judicial Secretary of any name or address changes for amendment to be made in the records.
Ms Akuffo noted that any notary public or other person who wilfully certifies or propounds any false statement or document, or who fraudulently and with intent to deceive, conceals, witholds, or perverts any fact or document pertinent to the subject of a notarial act is guilty of a misdemeanour.
She said the Supreme Court had the power to strike out the name(s) of persons who misconducted in addition to sanctions by the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council (GLC).
The Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka urged them to demonstrate exemplary conduct in compliance with statutory provisions.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA