Judges receive training on ECOWAS Brown Card insurance scheme

The Ghana National Bureau of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme has organised a one-day information- sharing workshop, for about 45-selected Justices of High court, Circuit court Judges and Magistrates in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

The workshop was held at the Judicial Service Conference room, on Friday, 23rd October 2015.

The aim of the program was to share with members of the judiciary the objective of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme and the role the Judiciary plays in the attainment of its objective.

Addressing the participants, Mr Gabriel Glover, CEO/General Secretary of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme said; ‘The Bureau recognises the role of the Judiciary as a strategic partner of the Scheme in safeguarding our citizens and promoting the process of regional integration. It is therefore, expected that the judiciary should have an in-depth knowledge of the operations of the Scheme.

He said the judiciary is the third arm of government empowered by the constitution and the laws of the republic of Ghana, autonomous and vested with the judiciary power of the nation to interpret the constitution and laws, disperse with justice, punish the offenders, and vindicate the innocent ones.

The main objective of the Scheme is to ensure prompt and fair compensation to victims of motor accident caused by non-citizens motorists visiting their territory from other ECOWAS members States. ‘It covers Third Party liability for: Injury, Death and Property damage caused by visiting motorists from other ECOWAS member States. Hence, the system guarantees o motor insurance cover, which leads to the realisation of the free movement objectives of the ECOWAS

He said in Ghana, the Road Traffic Act, 2004 Act 683 states that, “a person who issues or tenders a certificate of insurance, road use certificate, etc. which is false, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 50 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 8 months or to both”

Explaining the Claims procedure, Mr Glover said the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Certificate is one of the required documents for vehicle being taken out of Ghana.

“All accidents are to be reported immediately after occurrence to the Ghana National Bureau whether verbal or in writing by the owner or the driver. The handling bureau on receipt of the a Report from the police or the Insured/driver, would check genuineness of the Brown Card from the issuing bureau, if genuine, will ask the police to release of the vehicle if no criminal offence has been created.

If the Brown Card is fake the user could be detained, his/her vehicles impounded while the laws of the country to take it due course,” he added

The Secretary General of the Ghana National Bureau bemoaned of the dearth of knowledge on the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme among all stakeholders and the public at large. As a result, stakeholders take actions, which inhibit the free movement of goods and persons such as; arrest and detention of foreign motorists involved in motor accident, circulation of fake Brown Card and delay in payment of compensation to victims. ‘The Brown Card insurance does not cover criminal liability. The area of conflict is where motorists think that once they have a Brown Card they should be allowed to continue with their journey without full investigation into the criminal aspect of the acts and omissions in respect of the accident,’ he warned.

A similar workshop was organised by the Ghana National Bureau of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme for insurance companies on the 21st of October 2015, at Miklin Hotel, Kumasi. The aim of the workshop was to sensitise member companies on the Legal Texts and Harmonized Convention for motor victim compensation, as well as injury and deceased claims, under the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme.

Addressing the participants at the workshop, Mr Gabriel Glover, CEO/General Secretary of the Ghana National Bureau said the ECOWAS Brown Card is issued by National Bureaux established by each party to the ECOWAS Brown Card Protocol in accordance with the provision of the articles of the protocol.

‘The card shall be issued to motorists through the insurers with whom they have taken out a liability insurance policy valid when driving on their own country. Each National Bureau shall settle on behalf of its member insurers, claims arising from accidents caused abroad by holders of the cards it has issued and shall also handle claims arising from accident caused in its country by holders of card issued by the National Bureaux of other parties to this protocol.

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