Jurors in the Ashanti Region have appealed to the government to settle their several months’ outstanding allowances, citing financial strain, especially on pensioners relying on pension funds for transportation.
Legal proceedings, including murder cases, have halted in the Ashanti Region since November, creating a backlog due to the absence of jurors.
Initially owed 13 months of arrears, the government released funds on Tuesday, 14th November 2023, covering three months (October to December 2022).
Jurors assert this is insufficient and vow to abstain from duties until the government settles the remaining 10 months’ arrears for 2023.
Albert Ackah, General Foreman for Jurors in the Ashanti Region, appealed to the government to promptly pay outstanding allowances. He stressed the adverse impact on pensioners relying on their pension funds for transportation.
“We have suspended our duties; jurors have suspended their duties. We are not on strike because the issue is that, as I said over and over again, most of our juror members, about four of them, are pensioners. Just imagine a pensioner using the pension money for family expenses and transportation to court. The government owes us from October 2022 till now. They released funds up to December 2022, but my people are demanding more, expecting part of 2023. I plead with the government to speed up payments so that they can come to work as mandated heroes. They need allowances for transportation to court.”
Ackah implored family members of victims and accused persons affected by suspended cases to understand the situation and emphasized their rightful demand for owed allowances from the government.
“Someone may say we are punishing the accused persons, but we’ve considered many months. It’s our personal money used to come to court while the government hasn’t paid us. We plead, and it’s been a norm in Ghana for the current and past governments: if you don’t demonstrate, they don’t hear. MPs, ministers, and board members don’t strike for allowances, so why jurors? Family members of accused persons should add their voice to the government to speed up allowance payments. We’ve agreed to work; the only problem is the allowance. How can pensioners use their pension money to come to court when they don’t get paid?”