Accountability in Governance A Comparative Study of Athenian And Ghanaian Institutions of Accountab

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The ability of citizens to scrutinise officials is a long-standing power, and central to the strength of democracy. Consequently, it is of critical importance to the well being of any society, and the individuals who are a part of it, that their government, and the people who manage it, are held highly accountable for their actions or, in some cases, their failure to act, since this helps to minimise human deprivation and corruption. For ancient Athenians, making officials accountable through strengthened institutions of public accountability — such as the Heliaia (the populr tribunal or the supreme court of the land), the dokimasia(an investigative body constituted either by the boule or in the heliaia, to test whether a man was formally qualified to hold an office), the euthyna (the body that examined the accounts of every public official),the boule (the popular council or the council of citizens appointed to run daily affairs of the city) and the ecclesia (the principal assembly of the Athenian democracy) — was the key to lent. This thesis concentrates on the systems and procedures two institution^ ^^accountability in the oldest established democratic government in the world (A th en s),% ^d o y flia1a§;and the euthyna, and attempts to establish a correlation between the two institutions of accountability aforementioned with two institutions of accountability for public officials (the appointments committee of parliament and the audit service) in one of the first country to achieve independence in sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana). The euthyna was the companion of the dokimasia. Dokimasia and euthyna were ways of ensuring the proper public behaviour of politicians. The dokimasia was an obligatory procedure by which a jury checked that those voted in or drawn by lot for a particular official position were entitled to hold it. The euthyna occurred at the end of the official s tenure, and was compulsory for all citizens elected or allotted to perform public duties, bar jury members. The procedure of euthyna came in two parts. First, there was a financial audit to ensure that the official had not embezzled money (klope), or accepted bribes (dora). Second, the official faced investigation in the open agora, at which any citizen who wished (ho boulomenos) might bring forward accusations of neglect of duty or improper use of power. An in-depth study of the appointments committee of parliament and the audit service of the present Ghanaian democratic dispensation reveals that these state institutions of accountability share some similarities and dissimilarities lessons can be derived from the Athenian experience for advancing the emerging


Thesis (Mphil) - University of Ghana, 2011


Accountability, Governance, Public Official, Financial Audit, Institutions of Accountability