• Aug 31, 2023

Cecilia Abena Dapaah Update (2)

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) commenced investigation in the third week of July 2023 in respect of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences regarding large amounts of money and other valuable items involving Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, a former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources.


On 31 August 2023, the High Court, Accra refused to grant the application of the seizure and freezing orders on the grounds that the confirmation of seizure application was filed out of time; that the OSP did not provide any basis for the seizure and the freezing since it did not disclose the details of the transactions in the accounts. And further that the freezing order was based on public sentiments and without proper investigations.


While the OSP respects the Court’s decision, it disagrees with the decision of the Court. First, the OSP believes that the Court’s computation of the time limitation is, with respect, erroneous. The OSP searched three (3) private residences associated with Ms. Dapaah over the course of two (2) weeks. The searches and discovery were ongoing during that period. There is little doubt that the OSP filed its application within the statutory window once the search and discovery window is considered.


Second, the seizure by the OSP and the Special Prosecutor’s freezing order were effectuated on the very firm basis of reasonable suspicion that the amounts and bank balances were tainted property as Ms. Dapaah prevaricated as to the source(s) of the amounts she reported stolen from her residence, the amounts discovered by the OSP in her residence, and the volume of transactions in her bank accounts and investments.


Third, the freezing order was not based on public sentiments. Rather, it was based on court processes filed in a criminal matter before the Circuit Court, Accra involving Ms. Dapaah as the complainant. Further, the freezing order was effected to aid the investigation, as required by law, not on the basis of the investigation, as indicated by the Court. Therefore, it cannot be said that the OSP did not carry out proper investigations to warrant the freezing order. The investigation has only commenced, and it is ongoing.


The OSP assures the public that it will take all necessary legal steps to ensure that the seized amounts and the balances in Ms. Dapaah’s bank accounts and investments are neither concealed, lost, or otherwise dissipated.