General News of Thursday, 13 November 2014
Renowned legal practitioner, Dr. Somtin Tobiga has downplayed the impact of the 30-day ultimatum given to the Auditor-General to recover all stolen and unaccounted for monies from public officials and institutions.
According to him, the call should have been channeled through the Attorney General since she represents government on all legal matters.
OccupyGhana on Wednesday issued the ultimatum to the Auditor-General to retrieve monies from officers or institutions that fail to properly account for public funds as has been documented in its various reports.
The group warned that failure to comply will necessitate a legal action against the Auditor General. But in an interview with Citi News, Dr. Tobiga argued that though the intention maybe noble, the quest may fail due to the processes adopted.
He pointed out that the nation’s constitution stipulates that the Attorney General, who represents the state, handles all legal cases brought against the government therefore, “if you want to sue any government or any government controlled entity, you will have to sue through the Attorney General and this is a basic approach in our constitutional provision.”
He counseled OccupyGhana to go through the Attorney General if it is thinking of taking any legal action which involves the government of the day.
Dr. Tobiga acknowledged that “it is always good” when there is an attempt to expand the law through experimentation “so any action which will promote the public interest through clarification, interpretation or other matters that extend the legal horizon, it’s always good.”
“But again, we must look at the facts that will be involved,” he added.
But another private legal practitioner, Nana Asante Bediatuo insists the call and the processes being used by OccupyGhana is based on the law.
“There is a legal basis for it…where anybody or any public official has a public duty to do, any citizen can go to court; particularly if the citizen is affected and get a writ of what is known as a writ of mandamus to compel the public official to do an official duty,” he explained.