The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has disclosed that it has complied with the High Court ruling directing it to return Cecillia Dapaah’s seized cash and unfreeze her bank accounts and investments. However, it has seized back the cash and frozen her accounts and investments again to aid in investigation into how they were acquired.
Contained in a press statement issued by the OSP on Tuesday, September 5, it indicated that it returned the cash and freed the accounts in keeping with the High Court orders to unfreeze the accounts and investments and return the former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister’s seized cash.
Furthermore, the OSP noted that subsequent to the indicated ruling and order of the High Court and the compliance by the OSP with said ruling and order, the Special Prosecutor considers that freezing the bank accounts and investments of Ms. Dapaah is necessary to facilitate the ongoing investigation.
“Therefore, the Special Prosecutor has invoked his statutory power under section 38(1) of Act 959 and regulation 19(1) of L.I. 2374 by directing the freezing of the bank accounts and investments of Ms. Dapaah effective 5 September 2023.”Office of the Special Prosecutor
OSP justifies reasons for freezing accounts
The OSP explained that subsequent to the indicated ruling and order of the High Court and the compliance by the OSP with said ruling and order, the Special Prosecutor considers that he has reasonable grounds to suspect that the cash amounts seized from and returned to Ms. Dapaah is tainted property and it is necessary to exercise the power of seizure to prevent the concealment or loss of said cash amounts.
The Special Prosecutor assured the public that its investigation in respect of Cecilia Dapaah on corruption and corruption-related offences has been and is still ongoing.
“Authorized officers of the OSP have seized said cash amounts from Ms. Dapaah. Therefore, the Special Prosecutor has again invoked his statutory power under section 32(1)(a) of Act 959 by directing the seizure from Ms. Dapaah of the cash amounts previously seized from her. Authorized officers of the OSP have seized said cash amounts from Ms. Dapaah.”Office of the Special Prosecutor
It will be recalled that the Financial and Economic Division of an Accra High Court ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor to return all monies seized from the embattled former Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah.
The high court refused to grant the application on the grounds that the confirmation of seizure application was filed out of time.
It indicated 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.
The Court further ordered that the ruling be complied with within seven days, insisting that it cannot confirm the freezing of her bank accounts and other properties.
Following this, the OSP in a press statement stated that while it respects the Court’s decision, it disagrees with the decision of the Court.
First, the OSP reckoned that the Court’s computation of the time limitation is, with respect, erroneous. It explained that the Office searched three private residences associated with Ms. Dapaah over the course of two weeks, after which the searches and discovery were ongoing during that period.
In light of this, the OSP noted that there is little doubt that it filed its application within the statutory window once the search and discovery window is considered.