June 18, 2024
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Return Cecilia Dapaah’s assets in 72 hours – Court tells Special Prosecutor

An Accra High Court has ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to return Cecilia Dapaah’s seized funds to her within 72 hours.

This follows an application by the OSP to confirm the freezing and seizure orders regarding the bank accounts and assets at the former Minister’s home.

At a press conference, the Special Prosecutor indicated that the case will be continued by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).

“A little over an hour ago, the Office discontinued its application that was pending before the High Court for confirmation of the seizure and freezing orders in pursuance of the referral of the case to EOCO. The court order that the office should return the cash sums and defreeze the accounts of an investment of Mrs. Dapaah within 72 hours,” Kissi Agyebeng said.

Mr Agyebeng explained that his probe so far points to a suspected case of money laundering.

On that score, EOCO is better placed to handle affairs with respect to “suspected cases of money laundering and its attendant activity of structuring.”

“On the totality of the gathered evidence and intelligence sent to us, the case is largely in the province of suspected money laundering and structured by operation of law, the Economic and Organised Crime Office.”

In October 2023, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had joined the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in a synchronized effort aimed at delving deep into the matters of former Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah and her husband, Daniel Osei Kuffour.

This cooperative crusade sought to unravel the legality surrounding the wealth amassed by Ms. Dapaah and her cohorts, traversing the corridors of both Ghana and the United States.

Speaking on Thursday, January 25, 2024, the Special Prosecutor insisted that his office will be in close collaboration with EOCO and continued collaboration with the FBI on the matter.

Background

Two house helps who worked for Cecilia Abena Dapaah and her husband, Daniel Osei Kuffour are facing charges for allegedly stealing monies and items worth millions of cedis from the couple’s residence at Abelemkpe in Accra.

The main accused individuals, 18-year-old Patience Botwe and 30-year-old Sarah Agyei have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime and five counts of stealing.

The alleged thefts occurred between July and October 2022.

During this period, the house helps allegedly stole personal effects belonging to Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, including assorted clothes valued at GH¢95,000, handbags, perfumes, and jewellery worth US$95,000.

Additionally, Ms Botwe is accused of stealing six pieces of Kente cloth worth GH¢90,000 and six sets of men’s suits valued at US$3,000, which belong to the minister’s husband.

Furthermore, three other individuals, identified as Ms Botwe’s current and former boyfriends and her father, are also facing charges for allegedly being involved in the crime. They have been respectively charged with dishonestly receiving GH¢1 million, GH¢180,000, and GH¢50,000.

According to court proceedings, the stolen monies and items belonged to Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah and her husband, taken from their bedroom in their residence.

The accused individuals were arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Susana Ekuful, on Thursday, July 20, 2023. However, their pleas have not been taken yet.

The court granted bail to Sarah Agyei in the sum of GH¢1 million with two sureties. The sureties are required to deposit their Ghana cards with the court’s registrar. The bail conditions are subject to review by the substantive judge, as Susana Ekuful was serving as a relief judge.

On the other hand, Ms Botwe, along with her alleged boyfriends and father, have been remanded into lawful custody.

The complainants reported the theft case to the police in June 2023 after discovering the missing cash and personal effects.

Ms Botwe was caught red-handed entering the couple’s room with a duplicate key, leading to her arrest.

Further investigations revealed that Patience, with the help of her alleged accomplice Sarah, had hidden the stolen money and used it to purchase properties and expensive items.

This information got Ghanaians talking with many asking CHRAJ, the OSP and the Ghana Police Service to investigate the source of the money.

Subsequently, the Special Prosecutor announced that his office was investigating the matter, starting with the arrest of Madam Cecilia Dapaah.

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