The Supervising High Court Judge for the Ashanti Region, Justice Kofi Akrowiah, has sworn in 22 Commissioners for Oath with a call on them to operate within the confines of their functions.
He said one main concern of judges and lawyers about commissioners for oath was the practice where some of them “have arrogated onto themselves the very important role of lawyers in the preparation of pleadings before the courts, in particular the superior courts.”
According to him, such practice could land them in legal liabilities when their clients were unable to secure favourable judgement or incur consequential liabilities.
The commissioners, who were sworn in, were made up of 18 males and four females.
Justice Akrowiah asked them to remain faithful to their profession which enjoined them to verify affidavits and statutory declarations, and to ensure that oaths were properly administered.
He said it was not the responsibility of the commissioner to ensure the validity of documents presented by the deponent explaining that “the commissioner for oaths could only verify that the oaths had been administered correctly.”
Love for money
Justice Akrowiah also entreated them to not be over zealous for monetary rewards and, in a way, seek to commercialised their activities.
He said the commissioners’ function was one of community service since most of their clients would be the vulnerable.
In that context, he told them: “Do not let your desire for monetary rewards frustrate your prospective clients in search for important services.”
Justice Akrowiah said the nature of the work required that the commissioners comported themselves well and also be conscious of their appearance.
“Always appear decent and in your interactions with your client or the public, I expect you to de decorous and eschew impudence,” he said.
The President of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Kwame Owusu-Sekyere, said it was always important for the commissioners to be guided by honesty and integrity in their work.
He said the bar had taken notice of some of the acts of some of the commissioners which included preparing writs for clients.
Mr Owusu-Sekyere said such acts were clearly not their works adding that those found culpable could to lose their licence.