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Critical Perspectives No. 16 {The Public Officer As A Fiduciary And The Law On Causing Financial Los
Critical Perspectives No. 16 {The Public Officer As A Fiduciary And The Law On Causing Financial Los
01 October, 2003

Critical Perspectives No. 16 {The Public Officer As A Fiduciary And The Law On Causing Financial Loss To The Ghanaian State; H. Kwasi Prempeh and Stephen Kwaku Asare; October, 2003}

The Public Officer as a Fiduciary and the Law on Causing Financial Loss to the Ghanaian State.

By H. Kwasi Prempeh & Stephen Kwaku Asare No. 16

In this essay, the authors provide a lucid analysis of what has come to be known as the Quality Grain Case, which involved the prosecution of 5 high ranking officials of the past Rawlings administration and the conviction of three of the accused on multiple counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the State, in violations of section 179A(3)(a) of the Criminal Code (Act 29), 1960 (as amended). In the process, the authors provide a historical, legislative and prosecutorial overview of section 179A(3)(a), both in general and how it relates to the specific trial of the accused. They also examine the constitutional and political dimensions of the debate over the legality or otherwise of the law. The central thesis of the monograph that the law, which makes it a criminal offence to wilfully cause financial loss to the State, is both necessary and a constitutionally valid piece of legislation and that its vigorous enforcement is crucial to advancing and entrenching the values of responsibility, rationality, and good governance in our public administration. They argue further that, contrary to popular clamor, the law as it stands is not too vague to put public officials on notice as to what would constitute a breach of it. The authors conclude that calls for a repeal of the law are therefore misplaced and not in the national interest, and provide a set of proposals as a prophylactic against the risk of liability under the section. With the country’s low score in the international corruption index, and with trust in public officials at a low ebb, proper implementation of laws such as section 179A(3)(a) of the Criminal Code are critical in the fight against corruption. The successful prosecution of crimes covered by the law will serve as a strong deterrent against future lapses by public officials.

Cost GHs 5.00