The continuous deterioration of the Cape Coast Court Complex now in a perilous state, is posing significant danger to the lives of staff and hundreds of people who frequent the building daily.
The 47-year-old coastal structure, adjacent the Cape Coast Castle, was inaugurated on Saturday, October 9, 1976, but has not undergone any significant renovation or maintenance in many years.
The building houses about 10 courts including two District Courts, two Circuit Courts, two Commercial Courts, three High Courts, and a Court of Appeal, which has recently been suspended, among many offices.
The manky edifice has developed deep cracks, with constant falling of rubbles, eroding pillars, naked and corroding iron rods, broken windows, leaking roofing, broken ceilings, non-functioning washrooms, among other deplorable feat inside.
Some of the rooms like the Commercial Courts and some offices have been neatly painted, giving a false sense of safety while inside.
In other offices, they have water sifting through the cracked walls when it rains.
‘One of the High Courts leaks so badly that any time it rains, they have to use a bucket to collect the water pouring from the ceiling,’ a lawyer who wants to remain anonymous told the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
Not long ago, a police officer was struck on the head by a falling rubble at one of the four entrances of the building, prompting the court to ban people from sitting around that area.
On a few occasions, the court has been closed, for a renovation exercise but the building remains a death trap.
It may be recalled that the court was closed on Wednesday, February 8 and Thursday, February 9, 2017, for an assessment by the Architectural and Engineering Services Company (AESC).
The company was to examine the building and advise on its safety and the various segments of work that needed to be done immediately.
Some court staff who spoke to the GNA on condition of anonymity indicated that the state of the building was ‘a disaster in waiting.’
They noted that all persons who mattered, including the President, Chief Justice, and the Regional Minister, were aware of the situation but were yet to take any practical action.
They said experts, including the AESC, had said that the foundation of the building was still strong, but the structure needed a major refurbishment to keep it in shape.
They intimated that the sea breeze was a key contributory factor to the deterioration of the building and called for immediate rehabilitation to curb further damage and forestall a disaster.
‘We are living here in fear because anything can happen in any moment; meanwhile everybody up there is aware of the situation.
‘I understand a land has been secured for a new court structure, but I do not see that happening any moment from now. We need this one renovated urgently before the worse happens,’ a court staff told the GNA.
Madam Esi Annan, a seller around the court, bemoaning the defaced and frail appearance of the structure, said it did not befit a major courthouse in the much-touted Central Regional Capital.
She was concerned that the building’s proximity to the Cape Coast Castle was not good for the image of the country because it painted a negative picture to the hundreds of tourists who trooped the enclave.
She observed that the building was in a better shape some 16 years ago when she settled in Cape Coast, but it had been left to rot away.
‘People always come here to inspect and take pictures, but we don’t see anything happening,’ she lamented.
Source: Ghana News Agency