Ghana Legal Aid Scheme is on the verge of collapsing as staff depends on donors for survival due to its countless challenges.
The Ghana Legal Aid scheme is a public service organization within the Justice delivery system of Ghana. It is one of the component institutions over which the Ministry for Justice has oversight responsibility, and is governed by a twelve (12) member Board of Directors. The Scheme operates countrywide from ten (10) offices in all the Regional capitals. Ghana Legal Aid recruits Legal Aid Officers (ADR) and Lawyers in Ghana.
According to the Executive Director of the Scheme, Yahaya Alhassan Seini, the alarming situation is affecting the output of its workers.
Mr. Seini attested to the point that the entire Legal Aid has only one vehicle and a total of 23 staff members across the country which to him is doing the nation no good.
He added that, the Attorney General’s office and minister of justice is no stranger to the problems confronting the Scheme but nothing has been done about the situation over the years.
“We always complain our taunts to the authorities but there haven’t been any profitable benefits, we sometimes rely on donors for stationeries before we are able to function,” Mr. Seini expatiated.
Further elaborating on the issue, he revealed that in 2017, the office received a total of 11,464 instances throughout the expanse of the country and resolved 7,709 representing 67.25 percent and 3,755 remains unresolved, indicating 32.75 percent of cases.
Moreover in 2016, a total of 10,350 expositions were brought to the office, out of which 6,208 were reported by women denoting 60% and 4,142 of cases by men depicting 40% across the width of the country.
The Scheme is tasked under the Legal Aid Scheme Act 1997 (Act 542) to provide legal assistance to the destitute and indigent, as well as other persons in the prosecution and defense of their rights under the Constitution of Ghana.
Outspoken Mr. Offei Asamoah, Assistant Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) officer at the Legal Aid Department stated that, the office is hoping to get financial clearance from the Financing Ministry to enhance the capacity of their staff.
Besides, office space, computers and other logistics to do daily activities are inadequate and this is affecting the firm extremely, he lamented.
Last but not least, Mr. Asamoah assured the public that Legal Aid department will continue to work in the interest of the country as mandated if the government provides the needed resources.