The Herald, has picked reports about a massive power play between the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame and the Special Prosecutor, William Kissi Agyabeng in the theft case involving the former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, with Paul Adom-Otchere host of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana in the equation.
Reports are that, the Attorney-General is desperately seeking to undo the Special Prosecutor, who is out tracing the sources of Cecilia Abena Dapaah’s huge funds, focusing on establishing whether or not the funds were acquired legitimately or through corruption.
The Police Service, which was investigating the matter had arrested some individuals and arraigned them before court on the directives of the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, but the Attorney General from nowhere, stepped into the criminal case and took it away from the police, saying he was going to do the prosecution himself.
There are reports within the government that Attorney-General and Mr Adom-Otchere alias “Apostle Paul” are working together for and on behalf of Cecilia Abena Dapaah, hence have kept the same narrative about how the money was stolen and that the Minister’s late brother, Nana Akwasi Essan II, is the owner of the huge cash which his widow, Irene Kensah, was unaware of.
The Herald’s information is that the OSP is unhappy with the Attorney General, as his conduct is frustrating the Office’s investigations. Kissi Agyabeng is reported to have personally complained bitterly about the conduct of the A-G who was his classmate at the Ghana School of Law in 2003. Gabby Asare-Darko, President Nana Akufo-Addo’s cousin, as part of their class.
The involvement of the Interior Minister, was on the demand of the complainant, Cecilia Dapaah, who had doubted the police investigators at the Greater Accra Regional Police and went to Mr Dery and demanded a team of investigators to help get her money back. She is reported to have selected her own police officers to do the job for her.
Many are in shock and with suspicion as the A-G is not known to be interested in theft cases as high-profile political cases, including those of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and Seidu Agongo, the James Gyakye Quayson trial, the case of Ato Forson involving a €2.37 million ambulance deal, the SSNIT case among others, pertaining to appointees of the erstwhile Mahama administration.
Last week, theOSP filed documents at the High Court – Commercial Division, asking the court to freeze some bank accounts of the former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister.
It saida cash amount of US$590,000 was discovered during the search at her Abelemkpe home.
At the same residence, a sum of GH¢2,730,000 in cash was found, according to the OSP’s document, including bank statements before the High Court.
The Court has set Thursday, August 17, to rule on the confirmation or otherwise of the freezing of Cecilia Dapaah’s various accounts.
Following these, Accra-based Joy FM reported that Prudential Bank and Societe Generale are keeping some cash for Cecilia Dapaah.
It emerged the lady controls a total of US$6.590 million in cash, including what was stolen from her home.
In terms of local currency, the ex-Minister, had in excess of GH¢52. 430 million, minus those stolen from her home by her maids.
These amounts do not, include the 300,000 Euros stolen by the maids who used them to buy properties, including houses, cars and rent shops across the country.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, is calling for the resignation of the Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, over what he says is the concoction of facts by the A-G’s office in the alleged theft case.
He claimed that the conduct of the A-G in the matter, has rather been unethical and unacceptable based on additional information available to the MP who is also a lawyer.
“I have been privy to some additional information on the matter and I think that as I sit here, the Attorney-General should resign and I will establish the basis for my call…What the A-G has done in this matter is embarrassing, humiliating and scandalous,” he said on Accra-based TV3’s Key Point show on August 12, 2023.
The South Dayi lawmaker said, “The Attorney-General concocted facts by varying the figures downward so the generality of the people will not be scandalised. The 1 million is now 800,000 is a concoction.”
“He put out facts that vary from the original facts and this is unacceptable and unethical,” Dafeamekpor bemoaned.
“He [Godfred Dame] is denigrating the Office of the Attorney General as they have been aware the matter was first brought before a juvenile court and then to the circuit court for which the court determined that they could not reach a jurisdiction because of the age of the accused person, who was the then suspect that was brought before the court,” the MP lamented.
The South Dayi MP, asserted that he has no sympathies for the A-G due to the manner in which the Office has handled the matter since it emerged.
The theft case at her Abelemkpe residence has taken several twists and revelations.
In the wake of the saga, the Attorney-General requested the Police to investigate the ownership of the US$200,000 and €300,000 allegedly stolen from the home of the former minister by two house helps.
The A-G in its advice, however, noted that, “She [Cecilia Dapaah] stated in her initial complaint said that $800,000 belonged to her deceased brother and GHC300, 000 of contribution towards her mother’s funeral contained in a box and a bag respectively were stolen. This is confirmed by Henry Osei Kwabena, who told the police on 4th July 2023, that he brought the box of money to her sister for safekeeping.”
“This notwithstanding, it is important for the police to conduct independent investigations into these assertions to ascertain the following:
i. The true ownership of the amount of US$800,000. ii. The source(s) from which the established owner of the amount of US$800,000 acquired the money. iii. Whether the accused actually stole the full amount of US$800,000 from the house of the complainants.”
Also, the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into the former minister’s affairs is separate and different from the investigations by the police and the office of the Attorney General.
The OSP is investigating the minister for corruption and corruption-related offences while the AG and police are prosecuting persons alleged to have stolen monies belonging to or owned by the former minister.
Interestingly, Mr Adom-Otchere, has reacted to recent reports that the wife of Cecilia Dapaah’s late brother, Nana Akwasi Essan II, has started processes to retrieve US$800,000 allegedly belonging to her husband.
The widow, a week ago, told the media that she had instructed her lawyers to retrieve the said money which is listed as part of monies stolen from the home of the former sanitation minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah.
Irene Kensah, said on Sompa FM that while she is currently in the process of filing to retrieve part of her late husband’s properties, she only became aware of the said money through a broadcast on Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV.
“I know nothing about that money. I heard about it just like all of you did. I was on my way to meet my lawyer about a letter of administration and the issue only came up when I was with him.
“So, after my lawyer became aware, it has now become apparent that the money needs to be retrieved according to law,” she said in an interview with Sompa FM.
On Thursday, August 10 edition of his show, Mr Adom-Otchere, said he had spoken to lawyers who said the wife could not claim the said amount because the husband on his own volition did not disclose it to her.
“We heard that the widow said that she was unaware of the 800,000 dollars and so she wants to claim it.
“So, we asked the lawyers about it and they told us that it is quite a simple matter. If the man did not disclose to her that I had 800,000 and had handed that 800,000 over to another person being his mother, then it doesn’t form part of his estate.
“The lawyers thought it was very simple… she comes and says I didn’t know that my husband had 800,000 that he had given to his mother. To the extent that she didn’t know, it doesn’t form part of the estate of the deceased man any more.
“The lawyers told me and I thought that was straightforward too… the man had in his own wisdom and on his volition, given that money away to another person, therefore that money does not form part of the estate,” he stressed