The National President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Anthony Forson, has courted public support for the Legal Aid Scheme to promote justice delivery in the country.
He held that the many challenges facing the scheme, including lack of equipment and infrastructure, required collaborative efforts to resource the Legal Aid Commission and enable it deliver on its mandate.
The GBA president made the call in Accra yesterday when he donated two HP laptops and a cheque for GH¢ 106,000 to the Bolgatanga office of the Legal Aid Scheme.
The gesture was in fulfillment of an agreement reached by the General Legal Council (GLC) for lawyers to allocate five per cent of their gross collection of solicitor’s license in support of legal aid activities.
According to Mr Forson, though the number of lawyers in the country had “grown exponentially” over the years, since the GLC took the decision in 2011, it was not enough to keep the scheme going, hence the need for members of the general public to step in.
He appealed to corporate entities and philanthropists to come to the aid of the scheme.
Executive Director of the Legal Aid Commission, Mr Martin Amoyaw, in expressing appreciation to the GBA president, added his voice to the appeal for well-meaning Ghanaians to come to the Commission’s aid.
“The main aim of Legal Aid is to bring justice close to the people, especially the poor and needy, but we lack the basic tool to do our work.
Currently, none of the vehicles in any of our offices are operational, and since 2005 that we received some fleet of vehicles, we haven’t had any till now. This is affecting our ability to access the communities and extend justice systems to people,” he noted.
Mr Amoyaw also said lack of office spaces was also a challenge for the scheme’s operations, indicating that, “We are supposed to have presence in every district, but because of office space we are now operational in only 35 districts across the country.”
“We have no money to rent everywhere, so we sometimes rely on the district assemblies to help us with office spaces, and we appeal that all the assemblies can help us with more office spaces, so we can go into the communities and help people access legal services,” he said.
The Executive Director promised to ensure that the Bolgatanga office put the laptops into good use and upscale its activities for the benefit of the locals.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH AND GLORIA MINTAH