No judge should pay 'thank you money' – CJ warns

Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo[/caption] No judge or magistrate in the country should give money to a judicial staff as a form of appreciation for performing their legitimate duty, the Chief Justice Ms Sophia Akuffo has warned. According to the chief justice, the practice of judges paying money to judicial officers in the performance of their lawful duties, which has come to be known as “thank you money”, has persisted for a very long time in the country’s judiciary. Addressing judges and magistrates at their 37th annual general meeting in Accra Wednesday, Ms Akuffo described the practice as “insidious”, indicating it is detrimental to the fight against corruption. “I know this practice has persisted over a long period, but I believe it is time for us to put a stop to it as judges, as it contributes to the culture of corruption in our institution,” she said. The chief justice said all categories of judicial service staff  are paid by the State to undertake their official duties. As a result, she said “any ‘thank you’ must not go beyond the verbal, and that should be it!” she told the judges and magistrates. The chief Justice who is retiring this year from active service, expressed worry over the number of times her office has had to write letters to the IGP for security protection for judges and courts, something she said been a difficult task to meet. She explained that this was in response a complaint by the president of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana, Justice Senyo Dzamefe. Mr Dzamefe, she said drew her attention to how the lives of magistrates and judges are at risk for non-availability of security at their offices and homes. The chief Justice said she has also insisted on the inclusion of police post in the prototype court buildings distributed to the various assemblies. She described district and circuit court buildings in Accra as the worst compared to other parts of the country.

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