An investigation conducted at the residence of the former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, by officers of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has led to the retrieval of an additional $590,000 and GH¢2.73 million from the house at Abelemkpe in Accra.
The cash has since been seized by the OSP on the grounds that it was suspected to be tainted property.
The OSP has subsequently directed the freezing of the bank accounts of Ms Dapaah at Prudential Bank and Societe Generale.
In an application filed yesterday praying the Economic Division of the High Court in Accra to confirm the freezing order, the OSP stated that the move had become necessary to facilitate investigations into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences against the minister.
The application, filed under section 38 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), is expected to be moved on Thursday, August 17, this year.
On July 5, this year, police prosecutors arraigned two househelps working for Ms Dapaah and her husband, Daniel Osei Kuffour, at an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly stealing money and items worth millions of Ghana cedis from the couple’s residence at Abelemkpe.
According to the charge sheet, the accused persons allegedly stole valuable items from the residence of Mrs Dapaah, including $1,000,000 and €300,000 belonging to the couple.
The OSP arrested the minister and commenced investigations into the matter.
In the application filed at the High Court, the OSP noted that Ms Dapaah stated in her initial complaint to the police that $800,000 of the amount reportedly stolen from her residence belonged to her deceased brother and GH¢300,000 was contribution towards her mother’s funeral which was contained in a box.
The OSP added that Ms Dapaah, who later resigned, did not indicate who owned the remaining $200,000.
After several media publications, Ms Dapaah issued a public statement claiming that there were noticeable inconsistencies between the amounts of money being discussed in the public domain and the thrust of the original complaint in the matter.
On July 22, this year, Ms Dapaah resigned from her position as Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, which was subsequently accepted by the President.
On July 24, this year, the OSP arrested her on charges of corruption and corruption-related offences and subsequently conducted searches in three residential properties of Ms Dapaah at Cantonments, Abelemkpe and Tesano in Accra, leading to the new cash discoveries.
According to court documents, the OSP seized the discovered cash sums on the grounds that they were suspected to be tainted property in accordance with section 32(1) of Act 959, hence the need to exercise the power of seizure to prevent concealment of the cash sums.
Meanwhile, the father of one of the lead suspects has been freed.
Kwaku Botwe became a free man after police prosecutors filed a fresh charge sheet at the Circuit Court which excluded his name.
Botwe is the father of Patience Botwe, a former househelp of Ms Dapaah.
In the new charge sheet, Sarah Agyei and Patience Botwe have been charged with six counts of stealing, while Benjamin Sowah, Malik Dauda, Christiana Achab, Job Pomary and Yahaya Sumaila have been charged with dishonestly receiving stolen money.
Agyei and Achab, both lactating mothers, have been admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢1 million each, with three sureties to be justified by the court presided over by Afia Owusuaa Appiah.
Per the bail conditions, the sureties are to deposit their passports and Ghana Cards at the court registry.
The prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Emmanuel Nyamekye, told the court that investigations were ongoing.
Meanwhile, another suspect, Franklin Sarakpo, is currently on the run.
Hearing at the Circuit Court has been adjourned to Tuesday, August 22, this year.