Executive Director of the Center for Democratic Governance Professor Henry Kwesi Prempeh has observed that one area of law that has been grossly underutilized in Ghana is administrative law.
“There is the need to develop, in my view, a strong foundation in administrative law. This provision in article 296 mandate us to use but it is the most under utilsed clause in the constitution” he revealed.
Administrative law is concerned with regulating the exercise of public authority and public discretion. This authority allows public officers to allocate public resources and allow individuals or deny them from getting public funds among others.
Speaking at a recent Jurist Confab here at the University of Cape Coast, Professor Prempeh explained that it is fanciful to think that law can be used to regulate high political power such as that of the president and ministers but cannot regulate the behaviour of a public officer at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District levels.
He says corruption grows a lot out of the use and abuse of discretion. He explains that it is therefore important that Ghana develops a strong foundation of administrative law, meaning citizens must have the right to know why public officers use their discretion.
According to him Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution requires public officers to make the public know how and why the exercise of a particular discretion.
“There must be reasons why public resources are used by the public officer in a particular way. There must be public reasons why my application for this license was denied and there must be a process for me to appeal my demands to the next level and ultimately to a court” he said.
Professor Prempeh said “Ghana is a signatory to the UN convention against corruption adopted in October 2003”. Professor Prempeh explained that article 35 of the convention make room for “compensation of damages”
According to him the fight against corruption must be democratized to empower the citizenry, for instance, to initiate a civil procedure against corruption with a guarantee of being compensated when successful he explained that “corruption cannot be fought solely as a criminal law violation” but should also be fought as “a civili law violation so that victim of corruption will have a monitoring incentive to sue particular public officers”
Professor Prempeh has consulted lectured and published widely. He is currently a member of the Ghana Law Reform Commission.
By: Christian Baidoo/ATL FM NEWS