OSP discontinues case against former sanitation minister, refers to EOCO


OSP discontinues case against former sanitation minister, refers to EOCO

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has discontinued its case against Cecilia Abena Dapaah, a former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, and her spouse, Daniel Osei-Kufour, referring the case to the  Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).

The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, announced the decision during a press briefing aimed at updating the public on the case.

“By operation of law, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has a specific and direct mandate in respect of suspected cases of money laundering and its attendant activity of structuring,” Mr. Agyebeng stated during the briefing.

The OSP had initially applied to the High Court for confirmation of seizure and freezing orders related to the case. However, Mr. Agyebeng revealed that they discontinued this application as part of the decision to refer the case to EOCO. The court subsequently ordered the return of seized cash sums and the unfreezing of bank accounts and investments within seventy-two (72) hours.

Furthermore, the OSP discontinued the procedural criminal charge against Ms. Dapaah for failure to return forms on the declaration of property and income. Mr. Agyebeng emphasised that the OSP would maintain close collaboration with EOCO and continue working alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of America in the ongoing investigations.

The extensive investigations conducted by the OSP involved 20 individuals and three state institutions, with a particular focus on the Ashanti Region. The aim was to establish the financial standing of Ms. Dapaah’s deceased brother during his lifetime and at the time of his death.

From October 2023, the investigations expanded to a cross-border and trans-boundary scope following claims that part of the seized cash sums was transported to Ghana from the United States. This development brought the FBI into collaboration with the OSP, intensifying efforts to determine the source(s) of the substantial cash sums associated with Ms. Dapaah and Mr. Osei-Kufuor.

“On the totality of the gathered evidence and intelligence, it seems to us that the case is largely in the province of suspected money laundering and structuring,” noted Mr. Agyebeng.

The roots of the investigation trace back to July 2023, when the OSP commenced an inquiry into suspected corruption and corruption-related offenses involving large amounts of money and valuable items linked to Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah and Mr. Daniel Osei-Kufour.

Based on criminal intelligence and a case involving Patience Botwe & Three Ors., the OSP directed a full investigation into corruption-related offenses, suspecting the cash sums stated as belonging to Ms. Dapaah were proceeds from corruption.

The arrest of Ms. Dapaah on July 24, 2023 led to searches in three residential properties, revealing US$590,000 and GH₵2,730,000. With no satisfactory explanation from the accused, the OSP seized the cash sums under suspicion of being tainted property.

The freezing order against Ms. Dapaah’s bank accounts and investments was issued to facilitate investigations. However, after the High Court’s refusal to confirm the freezing and seizure orders in August 2023, the OSP re-seized the cash sums and re-froze the accounts.

The investigation originated from a complaint filed by Ms. Dapaah and Mr. Osei-Kufour against individuals accused of stealing large sums from their residence. This complaint triggered criminal proceedings, including theft charges in Court Case No. D4/155/2023.

The initial complaint indicated that part of the stolen amount belonged to Ms. Dapaah’s deceased brother, while the remainder’s source remained undisclosed. The complaint precipitated criminal proceedings in the Circuit Court, Accra against four (4) persons on various counts of theft in Court Case No. D4/155/2023 The Republic v. Patience Botwe & Three Others. The initial complaint to the police recounted that US$800,000 of the amount reportedly stolen from the residence belonged to Ms. Dapaah’s deceased brother and GH₵300,000 was contribution toward Ms. Dapaah’s mother’s funeral, which was contained in a box.

However, the OSP said there was no indication as to the source of the remainder of US$200,000 and €300,000.

The OSP’s decision to discontinue its case and refer it to EOCO adds a new layer of complexity to this high-profile investigation, leaving the public eager for further developments.

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GNBCC | News