Justice minister Yvonne Dausab has bemoaned the reduction in the budget allocation to her ministry’s directorates of legal aid and the civil litigation, saying that the current state of affairs will force experienced prosecutors to resign due to unconducive working conditions.
From the N$481 million allocated to the ministry, about N$44 million will be allocated to the legal aid directorate - N$16 million less than last year’s allocation of N$60 million.
“The successful prosecution of cases requires resources of all kinds, but most of all, it requires financial resources to enable the functions to be carried out by competent, motivated prosecutors who work in acceptable conditions,” Dausab said while motivating the ministry’s allocation on Wednesday.
She said the ministry’s prosecutors resign often because of unconducive work conditions.
“It is a high priority for us to ensure that we provide them with the tools and the skills needed to execute their functions to the best of their abilities,” she said.
Although the current structure is fully filled, Dausab said the increasing workload has confirmed that the structure is inadequate for the task at hand.
“The increase in the number of complex transnational and financial crimes (including human trafficking) requires dedicated and experienced prosecutors, which are not often readily available in the country,” Dausab said.
The minister says the
directorate of legal aid boasts a capacity of 65 in house lawyers, whose core function is to represent legally aided persons in all courts in Namibia.
“While the directorate has gratefully received additional new lawyers, these are all junior legal officers, who can only appear in the district courts. We only have three legal aid lawyers doing civil work, and they are all based in Windhoek,” she said.
According to her, private legal practitioners do the bulk of criminal cases heard in the high courts, because all the new lawyers recently appointed are not yet ready to appear in the upper court.
“That is why we have motivated for the appointment of more chief legal officers. With the lifting of the divorce moratorium, we now have more cases and in view of the small civil unit, we are compelled to make use of private legal practitioners, at a considerable cost,” she said.
“We are pleased to inform that the bulk of the cases in the district courts are given to our in house lawyers,” she added.
2020-06-12 10:45:54 | 28 days ago