Village court officials with risky jobs paid K25 a fortnight

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 22nd May 2013

 VILLAGE court officials in the Ahi local level government area in Lae say their work is important but also risky because they receive threats all the time.

Koniel Ogou, a village court magistrate and chairman of the Buwayang court area, revealed the plight of the 45 village magistrates, peace officers and clerks in Ahi yesterday.

Ogou said they worked for the fourth-level court system in the country to address the law and order crisis which was spiralling out of control in the country.

Apart from the Buwayang, the other Ahi village court areas are Busukap, Buasep and Bukata covering communities in the six main Ahi villages.

Their primary function, like other village courts, is to restore peace and harmony in the community by solving law and order cases brought to the district court.

“Our job affects our families too. Many times we face risks and our lives come under threat,” Ogou said.

“A couple of us had guns pointed at us because of the cases we presided over in the community.

“We should have a court house to handle cases and we also need cars to move around like in the highlands region.”

Village courts are the fourth level courts formerly known as local courts.

Despite the risks involved, he said many walked to various communities to hear cases and were paid a fortnightly allowance of K25.

The 11 members of the Buwayang area received uniform work boots and identification cards.