Court sits on veranda
The Tema District Court TDC is stranded to the extent that both the dock and witness box are left in the open outside the courtroom due to lack of space. Apart from the judge’s chamber and a small room where the judge and his team sit to conduct judicial functions, benches for litigants are also in the open for the same reason.
There are no offices for the registrar, registry, bailiffs, typists, cashier, police court warrant officers (CWO) and any other administrative staff.
The Chronicle’s investigation disclosed that the Tema Development Corporation (TDC), which premises houses a number of state institutions, issued eviction notice, to these establishments, which, unfortunately, include Land Court (High Court) and District Magistrate Court among others.
The Judicial Service, in an attempt to salvage the situation, went to renovate part of its judicial complex situated in the Meridian Hotel enclave, which had been abandoned several decades ago, for the Land Court to relocate to the place.
The said court moved from the TDC premises last week Friday, June 19, 2020, to take occupancy at the abandoned judicial complex.
This Monday June 22, 2020, the Head Office of the Judicial Service sent two trucks to Tema and packed every essential item from the Tema District Court and sent them to the High Court C, which is also located in a less spacious structure in the vicinity of High Courts A, B and a Circuit Court behind the administrative block of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA).
The Chronicle investigations revealed that a place being occupied by the Motion Court is what has been given to the evicted Tema District Court, which was operating under a pavilion-like structure at the TDC compound.
But for the presence of the dock and witness box depicting judiciary signs, first time visitors would mistake the sight of the benches, tables and chairs to mean a temporary place for church activities, or better still, haven for flood victims provided for by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
So small is the courtroom that apart from the dockets and other essential documents, no furniture could be added again.
Information gathered by the paper revealed that there are three district courts in Tema located at TDC, White House, and Community Center.
When the TDC, as an institution, issued the eviction order, suggestions went to the judicial authorities for this very District Court to join the one at the Community Center, which operates as a Motor and Sanitation Court and does not sit always, but that appeal fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, the Registrar for the Community Center Court is the same person in charge of the White House and has office accommodation at the latter.
Passersby who bemoaned the ‘homeless’ state of the Tema District Court could not comprehend that it is serving as a court.
According to them, it is interesting that the modern block for the two Circuit Courts in the premises was built during the administration of Kempes Ofosu Ware, as the TMA Mayor.
To them, it is an absurdity that the TMA failed to go to the aid of the struggling court, but rather was willing to assist the Electoral Commission with a huge budgetary allocation if the commission wishes.