Budgetary constraints preventing us from dealing with your problems; AG to staff in Tamale

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Miss Gloria Akuffo has assured agencies under her ministry of government commitment to providing better working conditions.

Ms. Akuffo told staff of the ministry in Tamale that budgetary constraints was a major challenge confronting her ministry which is a reflection of what is going on in the country.

She said: "We can never have enough to solve all the myriad of problems, but we must begin somewhere and we can only begin when we come to terms with the enormity of the problem."

The minister who is on a working familiarization tour of the northern region interacted with the Economic Organized Crime Office (EOCO), Legal Aid Department and Register General Departments in Tamale and went round the offices of the Attorney General Departments to acquaint herself with the challenges facing them.

Miss Akuffo, accompanied by the solicitor general, said the team came for a good purpose and the plan is that there is the need for monitoring and evaluation. She told the staff that in spite-of the budgetary challenge facing the ministry, they can’t fold their hands up and sit unconcern.

"We will identify the easy ones address it and later confront the bigger ones," Ms. Addo said and added that plans are far advance to put up offices of the attorney general residences for state attorneys in Tamale, Sunyani and Bolgatanga.

The staff appealed to the Attorney General to find solutions to accommodation, promotions, inadequate staff and salary and allowances issues to enable them carry out their duty effectively.

Mr. Issah Mohammed, the director of Legal Aid in the northern region the AG that the region is too big for him as a lawyer to provide services to the people.

"For two years now, my office has not received more than 5000 Ghana cedis for its operations. We used our personal vehicles to go round in the region to render legal services," he lamented.

The regional director of registrar general's department was not happy that clients who bring physical cash for service do not have a decent place to sit. He complained that the office furniture was disheartening. "Please let the powers transcends to the northern part, Ghana is not from Accra to Techiman, he stated emphatically.

Responding to the concerns, Miss Akuffo agreed with Lawyer Mahamud saying that the legal aid has been legal aid only on paper. She however assured that the legal aid commission bill is before cabinet and once it is passed into law, some of the problems confronting the department will be addressed.

The AG admitted that lack of staff is a reality and that government is putting up measures to address it. The ministry, Miss Akuffo said, has been struggling to get clearance from the government to recruit a staff of 600 to augment the exciting staff strength.

Miss Akuffo said the ministry got clearance for only 50 out of the over 200 applicants who had applied to work with her office.

She commended the Tamale office for keeping their offices very clean in spite of the difficulties unlike Wa where they don’t even have a washroom.

The Attorney General was not happy that dedicated staff who are due for professional advances have still not been promoted and promised to address the issue.

The state attorney, Mr.Abdul Kudus Salia on behalf of  the staff of the AG Department in the northern region thanked the AG for her visit to get first hand information on problems confronting the sector. Tamale, he said, is a peaceful city contrary to negative reports about the north.

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