A student activist at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Silas Osei Boateng is calling for the decriminalization of begging in Ghana as provided for by Beggars and Destitute Act (Act 392).
The law student, who doubles as the Chief Justice of the GIMPA Student’s Representative Council, argues that in sharp contrast of the spirit of the act to enforce integration of the poor society, the weak implementation mechanisms in the country have rendered the poor extremely vulnerable.
Mr. Osei Boateng speaking on campus exclusive earlier this morning, called for sections of the act to be repealed and maintained that the social welfare institutions should be put in place before the law can work.
“When there are not enough institutions in place how then can we enforce the law on begging because a duty of the government you are supposed to make sure we have a lot of institutions set in place.
When we have these institutions in place then we can now criminalize it but then because there are, we do not have much institutions in place we don’t focus much on this begging.”
Mr. Boateng also argued that the constitution did not specifically explain who a beggar is and thus those caught begging on the street cannot be fully prosecuted.
“They didn’t define who a beggar is. If you don’t define who a beggar is, it becomes difficult to become a law. Article 19 under clause 11 states that an act constitutes a crime if it is defined in a written law and a sentence is imposed.
In offence, we need to define the crime or act. We define it so that the prosecutor in the law court can prove all the elements or ingredients of the offences. In law after you prove your ingredients as a prosecutor the defense counsel can also come and prove the ingredients in the law court.”
His comments comes after he was pushing some part of the law to be clearly defined to ensure its enforcement and implementation in the country.
Story by: Stella Dziedzorm|universnewsroom.com