WE’VE NO UNDERSTANDING OF AG’S OFFICE - INTERVIEWEES
A research conducted by the Research and Statistics Unit of the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice has shown that majority of respondents interviewed in the survey admit that they have no understanding of the work of the office.
The research is aimed at providing a representation of the current levels of knowledge, experiences and perceptions of the public and stakeholders to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The findings are also intended to inform and shape ongoing reforms on improving administrative efficiency, strengthen inter-institutional collaboration and the technical and operational capacity within the legal service sub sector.
The survey’s respondents consisted of a cross-section of individuals and representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who have experienced, accessed or have pending cases/agreements with the OAG. The study was done in the Accra Metropolitan Area of the Greater Accra Region.
Out of 108 respondents interviewed during the study, more than half (57.4%) said they have no understanding of the work procedures in the OAG’s office. However, 13.9 per cent stated that they understood the processes whilst 28.7 per cent were not sure of their knowledge or understanding of the processes.
The survey identified the drivers of respondents’ knowledge or perceptions of the sector as personal experience (43.5%), media reportage of the sector (35.2%) and long delays in settling cases (21.3%). An overwhelming number of respondents (91.4%) agreed that their knowledge, experiences and perceptions affect their ability to seek redress in the legal sector, thus making them reluctant to seek redress in the sector.
The speed of OAG’s delivery of legal services was ranked low by 64.8 per cent of the respondents, whilst 41.7 per cent and 56.5 per cent of respondents ranked the level of responsiveness and transparency as moderate, respectively. Of the respondents who had knowledge or experience of the OAG, they stated that they have had some challenges with the OAG. Highest on the list of challenges were delays in receiving documents on the case from police (36.1%) by the Office, lack of witness support facilities (14.8%), and difficulty getting witnesses (13.9%).
As part of the recommendations, the research suggested that there is the need for public education and sensitisation; improvement in inter-agency collaboration and information sharing, use of automated processes to track State Attorneys’ attendance in court and establishment of a witness protection programme to support witnesses who provided crucial evidence in the prosecution of serious offences or crimes.
The findings were presented at a stakeholder workshop in Accra. The participants consisted of the Chief Director, Directors, State Attorneys, Research Officers including representatives of Judicial Service, Police Service, Prisons service, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Civil Society Organisations and the media.