The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and Cecilia Dapaah, former Sanitation Minister, are giving the country some interesting moments, as Ghanaians wait with bated breath to know the source of the huge cash in various currencies, including the US dollar and the British Pound sterling found and some stolen from the latter’s houses.
Firstly, Cecilia Dapaah, filed an affidavit at the High Court challenging the Special Prosecutor’s second attempt to secure an order confirming the seizure of money discovered in her home.
But the OSP fired back the next day, charging her for refusing to comply with a directive from the office to declare her assets and money.
However, within hours, the former Sanitation Minister filed an interlocutory injunction application against the Special Prosecutor in an attempt to stop the Office from investigating and prosecuting her and her husband, Daniel Osei Kufuor, on charges of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences.
Cecilia Dapaah, is being investigated by the OSP led by William Kissi Adgyebeng over the US$590,000 and GH¢2,862,007 from Dapaah’s residence aside the theft of $1 million, €300,000 and thousands of local currencies.
An additional search also revealed sums of foreign and local currencies in her bank accounts.
According to the OSP, Cecilia Dapaah, has refused to furnish the OSP with documents given to her to declare her property and income since July 24, 2023.
The OSP, therefore charged the former minister with one count of failing to comply with a lawful demand of an authorised officer of the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the performance of his functions, contrary to section 69(1)(a) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).
The OSP had stated that “the accused was, until 22 July 2023, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources. She is a suspect under investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for corruption and corruption-related offences, including using public office for profit in respect of suspected tainted large cash sums reportedly stolen from her residential premises and also retrieved from the same by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.”
“The evidence will establish that on 24 July 2023, the Special Prosecutor, in the performance of his functions, served on the accused a notice to declare her property and income under regulation 20(1) per Forms 11A and 11B of the First Schedule of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2374).”
“The Accused was duly notified as per the statutory forms and by a cover letter under the seal of the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the seal and mark of the Special Prosecutor, that she was required by law to make the specified declarations and return same to the Office of the Special Prosecutor as per Form 12 of the First Schedule of L.I. 2374, within thirty (30) days of service on her of the notice.”
Cecilia Dapaah’s injunction against OSP, prayed the court to compel the OSP to unfreeze her bank accounts.
She also wants the court to declare the re-seizure of monies found in her Abelemkpe residence and the refreezing of her bank accounts as unfair and capricious.
“A Declaration that the Respondent’s re-seizure of the money (initially seized from the Applicant’s home on 24/07/23) and re-freezing of Applicant’s bank accounts respectively on 5th September 2023 is unfair, unreasonable, capricious, arbitrary, and ultra vires the Respondent’s statutory powers under Act 959 relative to the constitutional provisions of Articles 23 and 296 of the Constitution, 1992.”
Madam Dapaah’s lawyers are also seeking the court to issue “an Order prohibiting the Respondent from continuing the investigation of the Applicant and her husband for corruption or corruption-related offences.”
Court documents filed by the OSP in September disclosed that Madam Dapaah used aliases to conceal transactions from undeclared real estate business and other transactions to justify the reseizure and refreezing of her bank account.
But the former Minister described the claims as misleading.
In August, an Accra High Court dismissed the OSP’s first attempt to confirm the seizure, ordering the return of Dapaah’s properties within seven days. The OSP has announced that it complied with the court’s order, but later re-seized Dapaah’s properties to aid ongoing investigations, claiming reasonable grounds to suspect the cash sums to be tainted property.
The OSP’s basis for the second seizure is that the cash sums are unexplained and not linked to any disclosed lawful source of income. They argue that Dapaah and her husband, Daniel Osei-Kufour, provided varying and conflicting accounts of the ownership and source of the stolen money.
The OSP’s motion also alleges that Dapaah used a concealed identity and aliases to sell property, and held undisclosed real estate and a company called “Dermacare Cosmetics”.
Dapaah’s affidavit in opposition describes the OSP’s action as “absurd, grounded on false allegations” and a disregard of Act 959.
She denies the OSP’s claim that her husband is covering up for her and states that the OSP has shown prejudice and lack of impartiality. Dapaah argues that the funds in her accounts include earnings from past employments, pension, and investments, which cannot be considered tainted property.
The OSP’s application was scheduled to be heard on October 18, but Dapaah’s lawyer has filed an application for an abridgment of time, requesting an earlier hearing.
The lawyer argues that the OSP has prior knowledge of Dapaah’s opposition and would not be prejudiced by an abridged timeline.
The application for an abridgment of time will be heard on October 11.
As the case continues, both parties await the court’s ruling on the confirmation of the seizure and freezing of Dapaah’s assets.