….Minus Cedis & Euros stolen
Ghanaians are beginning to lose track of former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister’s money, as more and more information continue to pour in on how much more she holds in hard cash, stashed in commercial banks, as well as in financial instruments with Prudential Bank and Societe General.
As of yesterday, it has been revealed that, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, had 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.
These revelations come as the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has in a documents filed at the High Court – Commercial Division, asking the court to freeze some bank accounts of former Sanitation and Water Resources Minister.
Accra-based Joy News, reports how its sources at the OSP, have revealed that it found US$5 million and GH¢48 million in Cecilia Dapaah’s Prudential Bank accounts.
Also, it found GH¢1 million cedis in investments and GH¢700,000 in cash in her Societe General account.
But the OSP, has denied disclosing any information or details about the bank accounts of Cecilia Abena Dapaah, however, Kissi Agyebeng’s Office, did not dispute that a cash amount of US$590,000 was discovered during the search at her Abelemkpe home.
In a public notice, the OSP, said it has not released any information about the bank accounts, which have been frozen.
“The OSP urges the public to disregard media accounts on purported bank balances reported to have been disclosed by the OSP,” the OSP said in a notice posted on its social media handles on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
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.
Joy News reports that the former Minister’s cedi and dollar accounts have been frozen by OSP pending further investigations.
The OSP on July 26, arrested Ms. Dapaah and conducted a search in her official residence at Cantonments.
Her private residence at Abelemkpe in Accra, where the said theft took place between July and October 2022, was also searched.
The OSP has filed a motion to confirm the seized money it retrieved from the former Minister’s residence and to also confirm the frozen bank accounts.
An Accra High Court has set Thursday, August 17, to rule on the confirmation or otherwise of the freezing of Cecilia Dapaah’s various accounts.
The Office has been investigating Cecilia Dapaah for corruption and corruption-related offences after reports that her house helps allegedly stole $1 million and other properties from her Ablemkpe house.
The Attorney General, has also requested the docket on the case from the police who are prosecuting the accused persons.
It emerged on Friday, July 21 that two house helps of the Minister were facing charges before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly stealing an amount of $1 million, €300,000, and millions of Ghanaian cedis in October 2022.
The two, 18-year-old Patience Botwe and 30-year-old Sarah Agyei, allegedly stole the monies and personal effects of the couple, between the months of July and October 2022.
Both have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a crime and five counts of stealing US$1 million, €300,000, and millions of Ghana cedis.
The 68-year-old former Minister disputes the figures given in the court document, but the revelations outraged many Ghanaians.
Ghana’s cedi, has been losing value rapidly in recent months, with those in charge of the troubled economy blaming dollar hoarders for the woes of the cedi.
It was shocking for many to learn that a government minister, may have been holding foreign currency herself.
Ms Dapaah, resigned as minister of sanitation and water resources a post she had held for the last five years in order, she said, not to distract from the work of the government. She added that she was sure that any investigation would show she had acted with integrity.
That did not quell the anger. By Monday, July 24, she was under arrest by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, which deals with graft allegations against high-level officials.
It announced that it had arrested and was questioning Ms Dappah for “suspected corruption and corruption-related offences regarding large amounts of money and other valuable items reportedly stolen from her residence”.
She was released on bail late on that Monday evening after her official and private residences in the capital, Accra, were searched.
The saga began with a burglary – or possibly a series of burglaries – at the minister’s private home, which she shares with her husband and daughter.
Two women, who worked as domestic workers for the family, are at the centre of the accusations. One is alleged to have operated as a look-out, while the other allegedly stole the cash and other goods. They – as well as the three others accused – have not commented on the charges.
The “brief facts” of the investigation, which are attached to the charge sheet, say that last October, Ms Dapaah’s husband, Daniel Osei Kuffour, returned home and heard “an unusual noise” from his bedroom and then found one of the accused hiding behind the door.
It was afterwards that the couple realised that things were missing, but they only went to the police seven months later, leaving questions as to why there was such a long delay, allowing the accused persons to go on an extravagant spending spree.
One allegedly bought a three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Accra, as well as items to go in it: a double-decker fridge, a television, a washing machine, a chest freezer, a gas cooker and a water dispenser. She allegedly gave money to her boyfriend to buy two cars – a Hyundai Elantra and a Honda Civic.
The couple, are also accused of renting another three-bedroom house in a different city and a store room.
The other former employee of Ms Dapaah is alleged to have spent some of her share of the stolen money on building her own three-bedroom house.
But for the former minister herself, the source of the money that funded this alleged huge shopping bill was a mystery.
In her resignation letter, Ms Dapaah, said the reports that she had “various huge sums of foreign currencies and millions of Ghana cedis… do not represent correctly what my husband and I reported to the police”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo’s response disappointed anti-corruption campaigners as it appeared to prejudge the outcome of the investigations.
“I am confident… that at the end of the day, your integrity, whilst in office, will be established,” he wrote to Ms Dapaah.
She had served as a minister since President Akufo-Addo was first elected in 2017, initially in aviation and a year later she was switched to water and sanitation.
Ms Dapaah, was well known as she was one of just three women in the president’s cabinet.
Now her political future hangs in the balance, as the Special Prosecutor investigates whether she really had such huge amounts of cash in her house and if so, where it came from.