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What constitute stealing?

What constitute stealing? I work as marketing officer in a well established company. The nature of my job involves handling of company’s money at times. I have had course to take from such money when I am in dire need at times .

I often return it as soon as posssible . There was an occasion the company required the money which I received from a client. Unfortunately , I had used part of it, so I had to tell a lie. A friend told me my action amounted to stealing. So I want to know if my friend is right — Jude

I would like to answer this question purely from the point of law. Reason is that there are certain act which amount to stealing which most people are not aware of and taken for granted .

There are also some act which do not necessary fall within legal meaning of stealing but which people assume them to be. Section 382- 384 of the criminal code dwell extensively on acts that the law regard as stealing . According to the criminal code, “A person who fraudulently take anything capable of being stolen or fraudulently converts to his own use or to the use of any other person anything capable of being stolen, is said to steal that thing.

(2) A Person who takes or converts anything capable of being stolen is deemed to do so fraudulently if he does so with any of the following intcnts:

(a) an intent permanently to deprive the owner of the thing of it; (b) an intent permanently to deprive any person who has any special property in the thing of such property; (c) an intent to use the thing as a pledge or security; (d) an intent to part with it on a condition as to its return which the person taking or converting it may be unable to perform;

(e) an intent to deal with it in such-a manner that-it cannot be returned in the condition in which it was at the time of the taking conversion; (f) in the case of money, an intent to use it at the will of the person who takes or converts it, although he may intend afterwards to repay the· amount to the owner.

(3) The taking or conversion may be fraudulent. Although it is effected without secrecy or attempt at concealment.

(4) In the case of conversion. It is immaterial whether the thing converted is taken for the purpose of conversion, or whether it is at the time of the conversion in the possession of the person who converts it. It is also inmaterial that the person who converts the property is the holder of a power of attorney for the disposition of it, or is otherwise authorised to dispose of the property. .

(5) When a thing converted has been lost by the owner and found by person who converts it, the conversion is not deemed to be fraudulent if at the time of the conversion, the person taking or converting the thing does not know who is the owner and believes on reasonable grounds that the owner cannot be discovered.

(6) A person shall not be deemed to take a thing unless he moves the thing or causes it to move.

384. (1) When a factor or agent pledges or gives a lien on any goods or document of title to goods entrusted to him for the purpose of sale or otherwise for any sum of money not greater than the amount due to him from his principal at the time of pledging or giving the lien, together with the amount of any bill of exchange or promissory note accepted or made by him for or on account of his principal, such dealing with the goods or document of title is not deemed to be stealing.

(2)When a servant, contrary to his master’s orders, takes from his possession any food in order that it may be given to an animal, belonging to or in the possession of his master, such taking is not deemed to be stealing.

385. When a person receives, either alone or jointly with another person, any money or valuable security or a power of attorney for the sale, mortgage, pledge, or other disposition, of any property, whether capable of being stolen or not, with a direction in either case that such money or any part thereof, or any other money received in exchange for it, or any part thereof, or the proceeds or any part of the proceeds of such security, or of such mortgage, pledge, or other disposition, shall be applied to any purpose or paid to any person specified in the direction, such money and proceeds are deemed to be the property of the person from whom the money, security, or power of attorney, was received until the direction has been complied with; Provided that if the person receiving the money, security, or power of attorney, and the person from whom he receives it, ordinarily deal with each other on such terms that in the absence of any special direction all money paid to the· former on account of the latter would be properly treated as an item in a debtor and creditor account between them, the former cannot be charged with stealing the money or any such proceeds unless the direction is in writing.


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