Legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has expressed appreciation for the actions taken by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in re-freezing the bank accounts and reclaiming the funds of former Sanitation Minister Cecilia Abena Dapaah.
The Financial Division of the Accra High Court had previously ruled on August 31 that the OSP must return all confiscated assets of the former minister and unfreeze her accounts within seven days.
The court’s decision was based on its determination that the OSP had improperly seized her property and lacked sufficient grounds to freeze her bank accounts. It concluded that the OSP’s actions were based on speculation and a response to public sentiment, indicating inadequate investigative efforts.
However, on September 5, the OSP complied with the High Court’s order but promptly re-seized the property and imposed a fresh freeze on her accounts and funds, citing ongoing investigations.
During an appearance on Ghana Tonight on TV3, Mr. Kpebu emphasised that Madam Abena Dapaah had not provided sufficient evidence to establish her ownership of the funds in question.
“There is no way we could look at the laws and allow Madam Dapaah to go with the money,” he said, adding that the Court has rather provoked the OSP to probe the minister further.
“She hasn’t shown she has run any businesses,” he observed.
“From Day 1, if she had a company that was producing so much in sales and she had money and she could explain this, you think the company wouldn’t have come out?” he wondered.
He maintains that there is no clear demonstration that the former Bantama Member of Parliament (MP) could have accumulated such a substantial amount of money solely from her earnings as a minister.
The controversy surrounding Madam Abena Dapaah’s finances began when she reported the disappearance of a significant sum, nearly $1 million, €300,000, and an undisclosed amount in Ghanaian Cedis.
She had alleged that two of her domestic staff were responsible for stealing these funds from her residence.
Subsequently, in accordance with Section 32(1) of Act 959, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) conducted searches at her three residences and uncovered approximately $590,000 and GH2.73 million at her Abelemkpe home.
Following this discovery, the OSP issued a freeze order on Madam Abena Dapaah’s bank accounts and investments held at Prudential Bank and Societe Generale Bank in accordance with Section 38(1) of Act 959 and regulation 19(1) of LI 2374.
However, the High Court later ruled against this freeze order, mandating the release of her accounts and funds within seven days.
The OSP has argued that, due to ongoing investigations, it deems it necessary to re-impose a freeze on these accounts.
“Therefore, the Special Prosecutor has invoked his statutory power under section 38(1) of Act 959 and regulation 19(1) of LI 2374 by directing the freezing of the bank accounts and investments of Ms Dapaah effective September 5, 2023.”