The passage of the Witness Protection Act is anticipated to support state prosecutors in their investigations of cases.
This is according to the Prosecutions Division of the Office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice.
At a sensitization workshop held in Accra on Thursday, November 19, Ms. Victoria Asieduwaa, Principal State Attorney at the Prosecutions Division of the Ministry said having witnesses testify in cases have proven to be difficult due to fear of victimization.
Ms Aseiduwaa explained this affects the speed with which cases are processed and tried by the court.
“Effective investigation thrives on vital information so if persons with the information are willing to provide that, then they must be protected,” Ms. Victoria Asieduwaa said.
“We have serious challenges in dealing with witnesses because some of the cases have serious implications for witnesses, their families, and their communities. At times you arrange a witness for court only for him to tell you on the day of hearing that he or she can't come if you don't send them money but this new Act has provisions to address all that,” she added.
She, therefore, urged participants which include personnel from legal department of some selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and anti-graft agencies to support the passage of the Act to be implemented effectively.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mavis Amoa, the Director in charge of the Legislative Drafting Division at the Ministry of Justice on her part noted the Act was in line with Ghana as a signatory to the United Nations' Convention Against Corruption.
Mrs Amoa emphasized the importance of witnesses in the fight against corruption and crime with the hope that the passage of the Witness Protection Act would address the spectacle of witnesses who refrain from appearing before a court for fear of their lives.
Chief Director of the Ministry Justice, Alhaji Suleiman Ahmed charged MDAs to play a significant role in the fight against crime and corruption which he described as “destructive to Ghana’s economy”.
Also, per the framework of the Act, a Witness Protection Agency is to be established to cater for the welfare of witnesses who risk their lives to testify against alleged criminals in court.
The welfare package would include finances to support their movement to and from the court, relocation, and change of identity if the need be.
This is to also insulate the witness from revenge from persons they may testify against.
A section of participants at the workshop
Alhaji Suleiman Ahmed Chief Director, Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice