For quite some time now, the Board has been under mounting pressure from mothers, guardians and caregivers who have come to the office to collect child maintenance money only to be told there is no money for them. This is because fathers have reneged on the settlement reached with the Board to pay a certain amount on a monthly basis towards the maintenance of their children.
The Board hopes to send a clear message to these fathers and others who may be brought before the Board in future that there are penalties for flouting a Court Order. ‘We have to set an example for fathers to treat us seriously,’ the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles. ‘We will fife their property to raise money for the maintenance of their children, if the money raised is not enough, we will stop at nothing in ensuring they pay up and being without a paid job is not an excuse.’
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said they saw this coming, noting that many fathers have proven to be very irresponsible by leaving the upkeep of their children in the hands of their mothers. ‘This is why the Chair of the Board, Justice Miatta Samba insisted that we assign a lawyer to maintenance cases in the courts,’ she said, adding, ‘We have been put in a very embarrassing situation having to explain to mothers, guardians and caregivers why the money is not available after receiving Court Orders.’