AG Launches Public Defenders’ Division

Godfred Yeboah Dame (3rd left) in a photograph with dignitaries at the launch


The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, yesterday launched the Public Defenders’ Division (PDD) under the Legal Aid Commission, to provide free legal services to the indigent and vulnerable Ghanaians.

The official launch was supported by the United States government in a bid to ensure that the PDD created by Ghana’s Parliament in 2018, is able to provide free legal assistance and criminal defence services for Ghanaians.

Mr. Dame disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has redeemed its pledge of contributing GH¢1 million seed money to the Legal Aid Fund, and indicated that he will liaise with the Ministry of Finance to ensure that government contributes at least GH¢1 million to the Fund every year.

He bemoaned the deplorable conditions in which the entire Commission operates, indicating that it is dogged by dreadful infrastructural and logistical hardships and the temporary premises from which it operates is in a complete state of dilapidation.

He, however, renewed his pledge to ensure that a land is acquired for the construction of a permanent office for the Commission once the Law House – the AG’s new office is completed this year as expected.

Director of Office for Access to Justice, US Department of Justice, Rachel Rossi, said public defenders occupy a vital role in a free and fair society and ensuring due process for all.

She stressed the importance of using government and leadership platforms to highlight and visibly support the vital role of public defenders in defending human rights, supporting the rule of law and ensuring the integrity of the justice system.

“When high level officials use their positions to amplify the importance of access to counsel, it reduces misconception about the role of public defence and increases visibility of the importance of the work,” Ms. Rossi added.

Ellen Sowa, Acting Executive Director of Legal aid Commission was excited about the official launch of PDD, adding that Ghana has over the years made significant progress in providing legal assistance to the vulnerable in Ghana.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak