Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Ernest Kofi Abotsi

Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, has stated that an Attorney General can be held liable for causing financial loss to the state if there is negligence in executing a professional mandate to the state.

The comment comes as part of conversations on how the state can avoid judgment debts, following a directive by a Commercial Court in London for government to pay a sum of $170million in damages to the claimants; Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC).

Speaking on Newsfile, Saturday, Prof. Abotsi explained that if investigations prove that an Attorney General in his capacity as the legal advisor to the state, acted in an unprofessional manner, thus, leading to a judgment debt, he can be held liable for his actions.

“An Attorney General can advise, he can give the best of advice that can go wrong, that doesn’t make him liable. He’s only liable if he fails to exercise skill and diligence and therefore he acts in a manner that we find below his power as an Attorney General in this circumstance.

“For instance, if there is a key law he was to refer to in his assessment and advice, and he did not refer to that law, he did not even research it and basically just advised without any proper reflection of what he’s supposed to do, then you can clearly establish a case of professional negligence.”

Asked by host Samson Lardy Anyenini if an individual can be prosecuted for being the sector head who supervised the approval of a contract that resulted in a judgment debt, Prof. Abotsi said “you can prosecute the individual, because the assumption is that the individual is employed to exercise maximum diligence and skill, and is expected to play a gatekeeping role, as well as a facilitative and technical role, ultimately.

“Therefore, he is expected to do his work well. If they fail, they have their own liability,” he said.