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Bawumia urges Commonwealth Courts to employ digital tools to improve justice delivery 

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Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia Monday urged Commonwealth nations to embrace digital tools in judicial adjudication to boost access to justice by all citizens. 

He urged judicial systems within the Commonwealth to employ the right communication and technological tools to boost and fast-track justice delivery. 

“In fact, it will be criminally negligent to ignore the latent power we have and allow the situation to fester where our courts are clogged, citizens are frustrated, and justice remain out of reach of many,” he said. 

Vice-President Bawumia gave the advice at the opening of the 19th Triennial Conference of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association in Accra. 

The conference attracted 390 delegates from six regions of the Commonwealth, including chief justices, judges, magistrates, lawyers and judicial officers to exchange ideas and share experiences towards spurring change and innovation in justice administration within the Commonwealth. 

The six-day conference is on the theme: “Access to Justice in a Modern World”. 

The Vice-President said the Akufo-Addo-led Government was fully committed in ensuring the availability to all through the effective use of digital tools, noting that, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the digitalisation of Ghana’s courts was very much underway. 

“We have a virtual court system for our citizens, an electronic case management system and a Justice for All programme that leans heavily on digital technology to expedite the cases of prisoners held in remand beyond the constitutional limit,” Dr Bawumia said. 

With the advancement in technology, he said, one did not need to be physically present to perform a task but it it should be possible for a critical witness in a case, far away from the jurisdiction for valid reasons, to provide the testimony necessary for the case to proceed. 

“No society can be truly deemed ‘organised’ if it is not centred on the central foundation of justice,” he said. 

“The belief in every citizen that they have rights equal to every other citizen, that their lives, properties and happiness cannot be arbitrarily taken away by another, no matter how powerful, is the consideration for the consent of individuals to be governed.” 

In that sense, depriving even one citizen of justice was tantamount to “pulling another tile from the delicate domino pack, that is modern society.” 

“How, for example, can a critical witness who is away from the jurisdiction for very valid reasons, provide the testimony necessary for the case to proceed? How can victims of assault tell their story if the result of the assault is that they are permanently tethered to a bed in an infirmary? How will a lawyer appear in two courts hours apart if the time between sittings is only a mere few minutes?” 

“Therefore, I believe that just like all other benefits that accrue to a citizen by mere virtue of birth, state actors must expend every available energy to ensure that justice is available to all.” 

The Vice-President, therefore, assured that the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and other allied agencies would continue to support the Judicial Service to improve access to justice in the country. 

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, in an address read on his behalf, highlighted some challenges plaguing Ghana’s judicial system and said access to justice would be a key feature in any of the solutions proffered to any crisis in the country. 

He noted that society needed an impartial justice system to adjudicate all cases that may arise. 

Hence the e-Justice system being implemented by the Judicial Service was bridging the technological gaps in the justice delivery system and helping to reduce the cost of travelling to courts, missing files and backlog of cases. 

Justice Charles Mkandawire, President of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, read a message from Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Patron of the Association, to express her warmest felicitations to members

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Power crisis: We had a maintenance hiccup – ECG boss

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"We are experiencing major maintenance issues; the current issue has nothing to do with fuel." You rely on a power plant to generate around 360 megawatts, and at 4 p.m., the gas emergency safety valve malfunctions. What are you doing? It's a machine. "The machine failed us and we kept on saying that it's a machine issue that we were trying to fix," he said. Recognising the impact of the mechanical breakdown on the power supply, he apologised for the lack of timely contact with the public. "I must apologise to Ghanaians, when it started we should actually have the confidence to have a chat with everybody and put out a statement."

Samuel Dubik Mahama, Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has ascribed frequent power disruptions in Accra and other locations to maintenance concerns rather than fuel-related problems.

Numerous neighbourhoods have been experiencing inconsistent power supply for several weeks without prior notification from ECG.

Speaking on Starr FM on Thursday, February 29, 2024, Mr Mahama informed listeners that ECG is working hard to rectify the issues and restore electricity to the impacted areas.

According to him, the current challenges are mostly related to severe maintenance concerns, not fuel shortages.

“We are experiencing major maintenance issues; the current issue has nothing to do with fuel.” You rely on a power plant to generate around 360 megawatts, and at 4 p.m., the gas emergency safety valve malfunctions. What are you doing? It’s a machine.

“The machine failed us and we kept on saying that it’s a machine issue that we were trying to fix,” he said.

Recognising the impact of the mechanical breakdown on the power supply, he apologised for the lack of timely contact with the public.

“I must apologise to Ghanaians, when it started we should actually have the confidence to have a chat with everybody and put out a statement.”

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Over 70% of people between the ages of 15 and 49 discriminate against persons with HIV

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The survey also found that rural regions had a larger percentage of people with discriminating views (85.5% for females and 78.1% for males) than urban areas (73.4% for females and 67.3% for males). "The percentage with discriminatory attitudes is higher in rural areas (85.5% for females and 78.1% for males) compared to urban (73.4% for females and 67.3% of males)." According to the GSS research, the Ahafo area has the greatest rate of discrimination against people living with HIV (87%). The Savannah region follows at 86.8%, with the Oti region at 86.4%.

According to a Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) research, more than 70% of men and women aged 15 to 49 who are aware of HIV have discriminatory attitudes towards persons living with the virus.

These attitudes include the view that HIV-positive children should not attend school with HIV-negative children, or that they should avoid purchasing fresh vegetables from a shopkeeper living with HIV.

The GSS released these numbers on International Zero Discrimination Day, March 1, 2024, with the motto “Save lives: Decriminalise.”

The survey also found that nearly eight out of every ten females (78.4%) and seven out of every ten men (72.1%) aged 15 to 49 who are aware of HIV had discriminatory attitudes towards persons living with the infection.

“Nationally, almost eight in every 10 (78.4%) females and seven in every 10 (72.1%) males aged 15-49 who have heard about HIV have discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV. The percentage with discriminatory attitudes is higher in rural areas (85.5% for females and 78.1% for males) compared to urban (73.4% for females and 67.3% of males).”

The survey also found that rural regions had a larger percentage of people with discriminating views (85.5% for females and 78.1% for males) than urban areas (73.4% for females and 67.3% for males).

“The percentage with discriminatory attitudes is higher in rural areas (85.5% for females and 78.1% for males) compared to urban (73.4% for females and 67.3% of males).”

According to the GSS research, the Ahafo area has the greatest rate of discrimination against people living with HIV (87%). The Savannah region follows at 86.8%, with the Oti region at 86.4%.

“Among females aged 15 to 49 in eight regions – Ahafo (87.0%), Savannah (86.8%), Oti (86.4), North East (85.9%), Northern (85.7%), Upper West (83.8%), Western North (84.4%) and Upper East (80.1%) – over four in five have discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV.

“In comparison, three regions – North East (85.2%), Northern (83.1%) and Oti (81.5%) – have more than four in five males aged 15-49 with discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV,” GSS’s stated in its report.

The survey also emphasised that those with greater education are less likely to have discriminatory attitudes towards people with HIV than those with little education.


“Individuals with discriminating views are more than twice as likely to have no education as those with secondary education or above. Discriminatory attitudes among females aged 15–49 vary from 91.5% for those with little education, falling through elementary (89.3%), secondary (78.9%), and more than secondary (44.8%).

“Among males aged 15-49 with no education, 90.0% exhibit discriminatory attitudes, compared to 86.8% for those with primary education, 73.6% for secondary education, and 43.4% among those with secondary or more education.”

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IES predicts a slight increase in petrol, diesel, and LPG prices

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“Given the Ghana cedi’s poor performance, coupled with the rising prices of petroleum products on world fuels market, IES expects prices to increase marginally in the early days in the month of March [2024]”.

Consumers could expect more marginal rises in the price of petrol, diesel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the next few days, assuming no intervention, according to the Institute for Energy Security.

According to the energy research group, this is mostly attributable to the deteriorating Ghana cedi.

“Following the continual price increases recorded by all refined petroleum products under consideration on the global fuels market over the last two weeks, the local market is anticipated to follow these developments.
“Given the Ghana cedi’s poor performance, coupled with the rising prices of petroleum products on the world fuels market, IES expects prices to increase marginally in the early days in the month of March [2024]”.

World fuel market

According to the IES, the Global Standard & Poor (S&P) Platts platform tracking of refined petroleum price data issued at the end of trade on February 26, 2024, indicated diesel, petrol and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices at $871.75, $840.43, and $599.48 per metric tonne, respectively.

The released pricing statistics for the time showed an increase in refined petroleum products under examination.

Specifically, the net price impacts revealed a 1.56%, 3.24%, and 2.92% rise in diesel, petrol, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, respectively.

Local fuel market performance

The second pricing window of February saw petroleum product prices rise at the pumps, in accordance with local fuels market expectations.

The IES tracked the actions of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and found that liquid fuel prices increased by an average of GH¢0.45 for diesel and GH¢0.30 for petrol per litre. LPG prices increased by GH¢0.65 per kilogramme.

According to an IES examination of gasoline pricing data from the past two weeks, the national average price for petrol is GH¢12.24 per litre, while diesel is GH¢13.32.

LPG costs GH¢13.65 per kilogramme.

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