Joseph Kpemka, a former deputy Attorney General and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Tempani, has urged Ghanaians to hold off on passing judgment on Cecilia Abena Dapaah before her trial even starts.
The source and intended use of cash, including US$1 million, €300,000, and unidentified quantities in Ghanaian cedis taken from the minister’s home, have drawn criticism from a number of parties.
A story about two housekeepers who are prosecuted for allegedly stealing $1 million, $300,000 in euros, millions of Ghanaian cedis, and other personal items from Ms. Dapaah and her husband’s home went viral. Following the event, the Special Prosecutor detained Madam Dapaah, and the former Minister’s two homes were searched. Later, she was granted bail.
The stolen US$1 million and €300,000, which belonged to the former Minister, “could be legitimately earned income,” the former deputy AG noted.
Kpemka underscored the potential ramifications of public criticism on the controversy involving Madam Cecilia Dapaah, which could undermine the ongoing inquiry procedure.
According to the private attorney, by retaining money in her home, the former Minister did not commit any crime. He therefore urged for a fair and impartial judicial procedure.
“I urge all of us in our commentary not to hang the person [Cecilia Dapaah] before she’s heard. Let the processes go through. In the end, if guilt is established, we can better comment on the person’s character and integrity. It can prejudice the process, let’s allow due process to run. We should be cautious and careful in putting her in public court. She has not committed any offence by keeping money in her house.
“For now, it can be a legitimately earned income. We heard the story that she’s a hotelier, she was a deputy minister under former president J.A. Kufuor, and she has been a minister under this government on two occasions, she does other businesses and all that. Let’s wait to hear what will come out of the investigations.”Joseph Kpemka
Moreover, the former MP suggested various legislative measures to make it illegal to keep large sums of money in private residences going forward.
“When the issue came up and people started talking about it, I said the mere fact that you are keeping trillions of dollars on your house, will not constitute an offence. Because there’s no law in our books that would have been flouted. As a people, if we think that those occurrences are becoming one too many, and a conduit through which people perpetrate crime, then that means there’s a lacuna in our law.
“If we are discovering cash in quantities in people’s houses that are frightening, and we don’t want that to happen, legislation is the way to go. Go to parliament and legislate that if huge sums of money are found, the person is liable.”Joseph Kpemka
Gov’t Appointees Must Be Audited
The suggestion that all government officials undergo lifestyle audits was applauded by MP for North Asante Akim, Kwame Andy Appiah-Kubi.
It is recalled that Professor Enoch Opoku Antwi, a public policy analyst, demanded that all ministers, MPs, and government employees undergo lifestyle audits as a part of efforts to keep them in line.
According to Prof. Antwi, Ghana has a number of regulations that should set standards for public officials, but they are not being upheld. He said that although the asset disclosure law requires all public officials to declare their assets, nobody ever actually confirms whether the information they provided on the forms corresponds to their actual possessions.
When asked if he agreed with requests for the lifestyle audit, Mr. Andy Appiah Kubi responded, “Absolutely.”
Additionally, he supported requests to conduct home searches of all nominees, lawmakers, and even his own. He said “I am inviting whoever to come…I am ready, come or go to my house even as I sit here.”